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How to Kill Armyworms Using Perfect Home Remedies?
Ever seen crevices of dried grass carefully? You will see something living in those. These are where the armyworms lay their eggs. The eggs are laid in groups and in hidden areas. They hatch in a duration of a week to three weeks, depending upon the temperatures. These are often active/seen during hot and humid evenings and multiply in large quantities within no time. Since Armyworm eggs are found in batches, they also breed at the same pace. These appear like caterpillars; however, if ignored, these can create a havoc in your garden and field. Therefore, it is imperative to control armyworms as soon as you get to know about their presence in your backyard. Armyworms are nothing but the larvae of moths. They feed themselves on grass, plants and some cereals. They are referred to as armyworms because they multiply in no time and are ready to reproduce. With a lifespan of about a month to two months, armyworms produce very fast. It is for this reason that they are called armyworms. Just like the eggs are laid in groups, similarly these hatch also in groups. It is this factor that makes them capable of destroying a garden overnight if are in huge number and are ignored in their hatching period. So to control armyworms is indispensable if you want a good yield of cereals such as maize, sorghum, cotton and thrive of some eight some species of plants.
1. How to find that armyworms exist in your garden/field?
Everyone intends to have green pastures and a healthy kitchen garden full of leaves. This intention makes them water the field and takes care of their gardens with sincerity and intensity to see some yield. All this will be gone in vain if the armyworms attack and you do not notice them on time. To first notice and begin the process to control Armyworms, one must carefully notice the following things:
- Brown Spots: If you notice brown spots in your garden, you may suspect armyworms. As they are usually active during the night, you are not likely to see them right away. But, if you notice brown spots, you must know that you need to act soon to control armyworms.
- Damage on the margins of the field: If you begin to notice some damage on the margins of the field, you are credible to suffer some field loss, unless you control these caterpillars.
- Birds around your garden: As birds feed on caterpillars, and you notice a large number of birds suddenly appearing in your backyard, yes, they are here for their daily feed. If the increment of the birds is sudden and large, please begin the process and understandhow to get rid of armyworms, before the damage is done.
- Brown eaten leaves: If you see that the usual green and large leaves suddenly have a wavy and brown edge, then chances are that your garden is soon going to be predominantly occupied with armyworms. Although, they may not be visible because they lay unmoving under the debris of the grass or below the surface curled up on the roots of the plants.
- Presence of ‘Frass’: Frass is caterpillar excreta, and if found on the base of the plant, you may sense the presence of the armyworms and the damage they are about to cause. This may also be noticed on the leaves and is yellow in color just like pellets. So be cautious if you find this anywhere on any plant in your garden.
Once you notice any of this, consider this a sign, even though you may have not seen the real caterpillar, take some serious action to mitigate the loss and prevent it from happening further.
2. How to control armyworms in the garden?
- Insecticides: Once identified at an early stage, insecticides may be used to clear the gardens. If the weather is hot and dry, the chances of damage happening are rather more as compared to a moist and well-watered lawn. In a well-watered lawn, the larvae of the caterpillars remain on the roots and not on the surface, hence they do not damage as much as a full grown caterpillar. A full-grown caterpillar makes more destruction but is easily controlled by insecticides. Spray a liquid insecticide on the grass. This is a very effective way to control armyworms, in fact, this way they can be eradicated. As opposed to liquid insecticide, the granular one is not as effective, hence, if you are at early stage of detection, then most probably the worms will be eradicated. Also, it is good to use the insecticide when the day is relatively colder, that is during late afternoon or evening as the caterpillars feed in the night.
- Natural ways:By natural ways, we mean that there are many pesticides that are organic in nature and do not have chemicals.
- Pesticides: This kind of pesticides may be used if one has fields of corn or green pastures, cereals such as sorghum and barley, cotton and alfalfa grass. When we want to know how to control Armyworms in garden/field,we must follow a specific way of using pesticide. The time and the quantity both must be monitored and followed by gravity to obtain favorable results. The reason why one must know how to prevent and kill armyworms in a natural way(homemade) is that earlier everyone used insecticides that were not organic, this killed and harmed the cereals too. Much unlike now, where the prescribed use of organic pesticide does not harm the plant. These natural pesticides are made up of such elements that are easily breakable into the natural environment without polluting the air. These pesticides prevent any entrance of any kind of toxicity into the food of the consumers, especially if it has been used during the cultivation of Maize, sorghum or Barley which is majorly effected with these caterpillars. It is for this reason, that one must certainly be aware of how to prevent and kill armyworms in a natural way(homemade). Further to control armyworms, the pesticide must be used during the night or late evening. This property of the organic pesticide saves the toxins from reaching other families who consume the yield.
- Parasitic wasps: Other than this, it is believed that introducing parasitic wasps to the field or garden leads to the natural death of the armyworms. The larva of the parasitic wasps feeds inside the army worms which leads to the death of the host.
- Natural horticulture oils:Once you have checked which plants are infested with armyworms, do spray some Natural Horticulture oil on those. This prevents further production of larva and kills the mites too. This oil also prevents fungal growth anywhere on the plant and hence gives complete cover to the plant from being affected.
- Beneficial Nematodes: Just like wasps, it is necessary that nematodes be introduced that lead to death for the armyworms. These are called beneficial as they do not any way harm the plants, amphibians, or humans and are rather natural, just like the environmental life cycle.
- Attract Birds: Plant such plants that attract birds as birds feed on larvae and caterpillar, it is likely that they will find the larvae before it becomes fully grown, preventing the damage. For this, some plant must be sown that the birds like. During the fall season, if you turn the soil upside down, the birds will easily be able to pick and observe pupae and will do the needful.
These are some of the natural ways that tell us how to get rid of armyworms. According to the weather, temperatures and the harvest, one can choose the methods judiciously and control armyworms from multiplying.
3. Dangerous armyworms
Fall Armyworms: Needless to say, all armyworms are very dangerous as they jeopardize the health of the cereals, plants, and grasses too. Amongst all other worms, the fall armyworms cause the maximum damage if undetected. The reason I am saying ‘undetected’, is because these multiply rapidly and are unseen if you do not have that vigilant eye. The female moth lays about two thousand eggs on the grass blade and that goes unseen. When these are well fed, in a matter of fortnight, they are ready for the damage. The Fall armyworms produce more rapidly than any other so one must always keep some home remedies to deal with armyworms to cease their growth immediately as soon as they are observed gobbling the grass or cereals. Fall armyworm larva is greenish-brown in color with a white stripe below the top of its back, a brown-black line over the midline, and a pale colored line with a red-brown tinge below. These features will allow you to differentiate between fall armyworm or a beet armyworm. Fall armyworms often feed themselves on cotton plants and cause severe damage. These are usually corn strain larvae and cause maximum damage to other crops such as sorghum and maize. They often do not feed much on fruits, unlike other armyworms. The fall armyworms cause maximum damage during the late summers in the Southern US and in the early fall in the Northern regions. They have now been invasive to Africa too, since 2016 and have already spread to about 28 countries in Africa causing significant damage to maize. Another significant feature of the Fall Armyworm is that it is cannibalistic. If they are overcrowded they begin to eat other.
Beet Armyworms: These larvae of moth is also known as asparagus fern caterpillar. These armyworms feed on the ornamental and vegetable plant. There are no such distinguished features of this caterpillar except that the old caterpillars develop yellow stripe. The Beet Armyworms destroy the leaves and eat the tender leaves leaving behind only the veins of the leaves. The beet armyworms have a distinct feature when they grow into a full-size caterpillar. This feature makes them resistant to any insecticide and can harm your kitchen garden, or the lovely floral growth of the ornamental plants in a matter of few days. So it is indeed very vital to identify these and control the growth as soon as possible in order to prevent any loss to the wonderfully watered and sincerely cared for garden. These pupate into the soil once they grow and begin to destroy your garden. If identified, you are fortunate and can hence, control armyworms from multiplying. Once you know of their existence, without wasting much time you start picking the caterpillars and putting them into soapy water. This method kills them and prevents further infestation of these armyworms. One other remedy is that of the use of petroleum-based products and Neem oil. Although these are least perturbed by insecticides, petroleum-based oils and Neem oils are sometimes successful in stopping their growth. The oil must be used on the eggs that are covered in a cotton-like fibrous mass. These home remedies to deal with armyworms comes in handy if you have a full grown kitchen garden with ornamental plants, including other vegetables. In the article above, there are certain other natural ways that explain how to get rid of armyworms before despoliation occurs.
4. Controlling these armyworms
Besides these armyworms, any armyworms efficiently can destroy plants and vegetables. The reason why we must control them is that of its impact on the yield of maize, soya bean, sorghum and cotton plants. While we try to prevent or cease the infestation into the fields or the lawns, we must be careful of how we do this. Although we have discussed the remedies, we need to explicitly understand the advantages and disadvantages of using pesticides and insecticides. While we use liquid or granular insecticide to control the production of fall armyworms, we must understand that this must be done very carefully. The reason to be careful is that along with the larvae being killed, some other useful insects also die. These insects act as an opponent and kill the larvae of the moths, thereby naturally saving the lawn from infestation. One other disadvantage is that these insecticides are used over the crops that will go as a yield to many houses. Preventive measures must be taken such that the yield does not contain any toxins that may harm the human body. And above all, ‘prevention is better than cure’, lies true here as one must be cautious of many things while harvesting the cereals. These preventive measures are the best remedy to control armyworms. These are as follows:
- Keep the surroundings of the lawn/field away from stubble retention: This means that stalks must be cleared and must not be left hanging. This becomes the breeding ground for the moths to lay eggs and consequentially, the army. Besides, keep a thorough check of any signs of scalloping leaves or brown spots.
- The timing of harvest must be well thought: The time of harvest ensures that the land is fertile and free of stubble remains. It is ideal to do the harvesting in the day time. The time before the actual harvesting begins is a critical period as it is this time when the young larvae are underneath and it is difficult to detect the presence. Before the harvesting, the machines must be used to overturn the lawn. This will inform you of the presence of the worms and hence, will help you control armyworm’sgrowth.
- If developed, control at an initial stage: To control armyworms, the landowners must be vigilant of any symptom such as eaten leaves with brown edges and brown spots. The larvae when small are relatively inactive and remain at the roots of the plant. It is difficult to detect their presence, but if there are brown spots, this indicates that some armyworms activity has taken place and the grown larvae are active to create what we fear, a despoliation!
- Availability of greens in the crop: When you begin to see the deterioration of green crops in nearby lawns, fields, and gardens, you must get wary and begin norms that will control armyworms from entering your field. It is believed that the armyworms march out from the fields which have fewer greens and go towards hunting for more greens, thus, if you notice this radical change around you, save your lawn by watering it well, turning the soil upside down and by using organic ways to prevent the armyworms entering your zone of greens.
With the origin of armyworms from the Southern and Northern parts of America, it has now affected African countries such as Kenya, Zimbabwe, Ghana (where a national emergency was declared in 2017 due to the rise in armyworms), Nigeria, Zambia, and Ethiopia. These countries have been severely affected as the economy has lashed due to the destruction in the crop yield, especially that of maize. Armyworms have proved their adulation towards maize as this cereal has been largely affected. If this not controlled, this will soon lead to global crises as these caterpillars are ‘hungry’!
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