How Do You Get Rid of Army Worms…and Can They Destroy Your Yard?

Transcript Below

Hi, I’m here at Arundel County Farm Lawn and Garden Center, right off Jumpers Hole Road with Corey Stephens. Corey is the owner of this fine establishment.  He’s an expert on army worms.


If you haven’t heard about army worms – let’s just ask Cory some questions and he’ll explain how serious these things are.


Cory, what does an army warm look like?


Okay, so army worms are your typical corn worm and they do have a stripe on the back that is a darker color. The news is that they can devastate your lawn in less than 24 hours now. My family’s been farming in this country for over 100 years. We’ve been fighting the army worm for that long. It usually ends up in corn and also in soybeans.


So you have to wonder why now why is it here attacking our grass. 


Believe it or not, the hurricane winds have brought the army worm north to us and is a devastator.


One of the ways to check for army worms- If you mix up some soapy water and pour it on your lawn, within minutes, you will see them rise to the top. They are dark in color with a stripe on their back.


They get their name army worm only because of their aggression. As a child, I always thought it was because of the stripe. But it’s because of how devastating they can be.


The good news is (if there is any), they are very controllable. Whether you want to go organic with a permethrin, or manmade, you can go with Triazicide. Most lawn insect killers will control them.


The best news of all is that this is just a temporary thing.


But they can devastate your lawn in 24 hours.


They are used to warm weather and will not survive our first frost.


So everyone’s asking me, are they going to come back next year?


Only if we get these severe hurricane winds. The answer is they could. But I’ve been doing this for over 40 years. This is the first time in my 40 years that I’ve actually seen them attack the lawn.


Now there are a couple different products that you can use to kill them. One of them is safe for pets and children and the other one, the other one is a little bit more aggressive.


So permethrin, which is known as spray eight or eight granular made by Bonide. Permethrin-based killer tends to be much safer. It’s the same chemical used in dog collars, and flea sprays. The Triazicide is certainly a little more toxic and a little more powerful. It will go further and last you longer. They should be good with a complete application. You should have it covered up with no problem at all.


Now when you say they devastate a yard, do they kill the grass?


Yes, they kill the grass that quickly.


How about plants like a crape myrtle? Are they going to kill a crape myrtle?


We haven’t seen any attack on that, we’ve only see them like tender things. That’s why they like corn. It’s the same worm that’s at the end of the corn ear. If you’ve ever bought corn before and had that little visitor at the top. It is typically in the south and attacks this the soybean in the cornfields and it is the number one nemesis when it comes to farmers growing corn.


Does it eat crabgrass?


I only wish that they had a diet of strict crabgrass, but it will eat anything green rooted in the ground.


What plants should we be concerned about?


As of right now, there’s been no more devastation listed at this time besides your lawn material. So, we haven’t had any reports of marigolds or crape myrtles. They don’t eat anything too hardy at this point in time. They like the tenderness and the coolness of the ground for the most part. And that’s why but it can happen within 24 hours.


The damage is commonly mistaken for grub damage or fungus. But it happens so quickly, which is how it gets its name – army, from the aggression that it has.


Great. Thanks, Cory.


Hey, thanks for stopping by. We really appreciate it. We’ve been around for 94 years. We appreciate all the support and we thank you.


You’ve got a lot of stuff here. I’ve been walking around looking in. I’ve been in a lot of nurseries. This one has just about everything you could possibly look for.


Check out their store here: