Army worms go to war with Kansas lawns & gardens, here’s how to fight back

Local News

TOPEKA (KSNT) – The army worm has moved into Northeast Kansas, causing major problems for people who take pride in their lawn.

The worm is fittingly named, because for people suffering from an infestation, they move like they’re invading. In some cases, people’s lawns were virtually covered in the crawling creatures. These worms love cool season grasses, like fescue, rye and blue grass. After running out of that, the owner of Jackson’s Greenhouse & Garden Center said they will attack your flower beds.

“The thing about army worms is they attack in an army,” said owner Dave Jackson. “They can decimate a football field, for example, in three days.”

An army worm eats through a tomato. (KSNT Photo/Kelly Saberi)

Jackson has run his plant nursery in Topeka for 53 years. He said he’s never seen so many customers come in with the same complaint.

“This really is a once in a lifetime event,” Jackson said.

The worms are common in Oklahoma and Texas, but despite a harsh winter in those states, the worms still made their way to Kansas. Agriculture Agent Leroy Russell, who works with the K-State Research & Extension, said he’s had several clients bring in the worms to his office in the last week. Once they’re done with lawns, they move on to other plants, like flowers and vegetables.

To fight back in the war with army worms, yard-lovers and gardeners may need to bring in a pesticide. Experts say something like spinosad is used specifically for chewing insects. When sprayed on the army worms, it causes them to immediately stop feeding. The worms will starve to death and save your lawn that you’ve worked so hard to maintain.

The less expensive option is a broad-use insecticide like permethrin to get the job done. A bag of Bug Blaster granules is a longer lasting version of permethrin that will work too. These products are all safe to use around pets.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories