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Armyworms in Lawns: What Homeowners in the Memphis, TN and Olive Branch, MS Need to Know

When you value a great-looking lawn, you want to do everything in your power to keep it that way. Unfortunately, there are many lawn enemies out there that can have a negative impact despite all of your efforts. It can be frustrating to think of forces working against you when you’re trying everything you can to keep your lawn looking great.

Among those enemies are armyworms, which are highly destructive lawn pests. Unfortunately, these pests can do damage quickly. They don’t march in and make their presence known right away. They are much more stealthy than that—striking unexpectedly and working fast. These creatures are powerful and can devastate a yard in a matter of days.

While they’re a force to be reckoned with, understanding more about armyworms in lawns can help you get a better grasp on how to gain control of these pests before they have the chance to wreak havoc.

Identifying Armyworms in Grass

Armyworms are the larvae of a particular moth. These pests are light green or tan in their early growth stage and dark green or brown in later stages. They also have a distinct, darker “Y” near their head. Size-wise, full-grown larvae are between 1½ and 2 inches long.

Armyworm on leaf

Armyworms get their moniker from the fact that they move in an army-like fashion, sticking together as a large group (often in the thousands). Although they have the word “worm” in their name, they are actually caterpillars. These caterpillars move swiftly, eating as they go. As the larvae consumes all available food sources, they migrate as an army to new host plants—primarily grasses. They can move through a lawn in a matter of days.

One hint that you may have armyworms in the grass is an increased presence of birds. Birds will eat the caterpillars, but they won’t get enough of them to make your lawn healthy again.

However, a lot of times, armyworms lawn damage is recognized ahead of actually spotting any armyworms. The first sign of lawn trouble is small patches of brown grass with the edges of the blades chewed. Some blades may be entirely consumed. As the grass is eaten, it will begin to die, forming brown patches around the lawn. 

If you notice any of these symptoms, get down on your hands and knees and start looking for armyworms in your grass. They often hide in the top layer of thatch.

When Are Armyworms a Concern?

The time when armyworms pose the biggest threat is usually late summer and early fall. However, it’s important to note that these pests are not a problem every single year. You may go many years without any armyworms in your lawn and then suddenly have a problem. For this reason, you don’t need to treat your yard every single year for this pest. 

However, because of their highly destructive nature, it is important that you and your lawn care company are both on top of looking for these pests.

Armyworms Control

When it comes to killing armyworms, early detection is everything. Armyworms are surface feeding insects and can be easily controlled by insecticides when identified early enough.

Early detection will also prevent the damage from becoming severe and will therefore be easier to repair. A few patches of brown grass can be seeded much easier than having to attempt to replace an entire lawn.

As mentioned, because armyworms are not a problem every year, it’s not necessary to treat your lawn every year. However, it should definitely be treated at the first sign of trouble.

Winning the War Against Armyworms

While armyworms are an undeniable threat that can do serious damage, you can take control before they have the chance to do so. By working with a great lawn care company in the Memphis, TN or Olive Branch, MS area who has a regular eye on your property, a problem like this can be spotted early.


Of course, at Master Lawn, we recognize that problems sometimes arise in between our scheduled lawn care visits. That’s why we encourage homeowners to call us at the first sign of trouble. Then we can get started with treatment right away.

The bottom line? You don’t have to let armyworms win. By partnering with Master Lawn, you’ll have a powerful ally that will always be looking out for your best interest. We’ll get your armyworms problem under control before it gets serious.

Want to feel confident that you’re on the right side of the battle in the fight against armyworms at your Memphis, TN or Olive Branch, MS home? Talk to a lawn care expert, choose from 3 program options, and become the master of your lawn.

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Image source: armyworm

Michael Hatcher

Michael Hatcher is president of Michael Hatcher & Associates.

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