These guys are voracious invaders! The fall armyworm is a species in the order of Lepidoptera, and it will become the fall armyworm moth. This destructive garden pest gets its name because it travels in small insect armies, marching across lawns by the thousands consuming just about everything in its path, and they especially like Bermuda grass.
1) The armyworms eat the leaves of Bermuda grass. They will not kill the grass, but your lawn will not likely fully recover until the next season. These worms are a nuisance, but they don’t eat most plants, they don’t like St. Augustine turf grass or Zoysia turf grass.
2) We see some armyworms every year, but they are usually sparse on a scattering of lawns. We treat them and that takes care of it for the year.
3) But, we have not seen an infestation like this in recent memory. They are aggressive and wide spread and are eating their way through many lawns making an ugly scene.
4) Armyworms can keep coming until the first freeze.
The armyworm infestation is bad, but worse is how the treatments are being handled by some people. Many companies, homeowners, and agriculture managers are using a product with the active ingredient Bifenthrin to treat the worms. AJSW does not use Bifenthrin, and here is why:
Why AJSW does not use Bifenthrin
Bifenthrin is a member of the pyrethroid chemical class. It is an insecticide and acaricide which affects the nervous system and causes paralysis in insects. The U.S. EPA has classified bifenthrin as Toxicity Class II-moderately toxic. Products containing bifenthrin must bear the SIGNAL WORD: WARNING. Worst of all, Bifenthrin kills a lot of bugs including beneficial insects. It also only provides 2 weeks of control so most applicators are committing to treating every two weeks until the first freeze. That is a lot of needless treatments and senseless damage to the beneficial insect population. And with more treatments comes a higher risk of contamination of the water supply.
We use Acelepryn
At A J Southwest we use a product called Acelepryn. The active ingredient is Chlorantraniliprole. Acelepryn is labeled as a ‘reduced risk’ pesticide and has little or no impact on beneficial insects or birds, nor does it have a ‘signal word’ on the label ordered by the EPA. Acelepryn is far from perfect, but what makes it the ‘no-brainer’ product to use is 4 months of control for army worms, grub worms and chinch bugs. That’s right, it can be used as a curative, killing the active worms or a preventative solution.
That also means one application in September controls army worms, grub worms, and chinch bugs until the end of the year, a period of time that should include our first freeze. No need for treatments every two weeks nuking everything. The official AJ Southwest service description for Fall Armyworms and Grub Control is listed below. Contact us if you would like to become part of our lawn and ornamental plant program or add this service to your existing program.
Fall Armyworm Prevention and Grub Control
You have seen the damage to lawns all across North Texas from the invasion of the armyworms. That is why we recommend our Prevention Service. This service is done in September to prevent and control armyworms. It will control armyworms until the end of the year. It also works as a backup grub control service. While there is no guarantee for grub activity, the treatment will help to substantially reduce and control the active grub population.