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Control Armyworms and the Damages Caused by Armyworms
A beautiful looking red tomato in your yard can make you feel happy when you see it as the first tomato of the season. It is definitely going to make you come closer and pluck it and maybe a puta social media posts as well about the first tomato that you just spotted in your yard, isn’t it? But what if you suddenly see few green colored worms in the same plant? Maybe your smile can turn smaller and turn into a frown right? These green worms that you are sighting are none other than an armyworm. Armyworms are also known as lawn grubs and mostly infect your plants during summers. They can cause a repeated infestation in your garden, and thus one needs to keep a check on any such outbreak at all times. They feed on the plants and also leave brown coloured patches on the leaves which they have fed on.
1. The information you need to know about armyworms
Hearing the word armyworms, you may undoubtedly have this question arising in your mind as to What are armyworms and the danger of them? Armyworms are just another pest that you may hate to see in your garden or your farm. These armyworms are the lookalike of caterpillars and feed on crops, cereals and grass pastures. If you are sighting caterpillars in cereal crops, then it is quite probable that you are sighting an armyworm. Armyworms mostly feed on the eaves of the plants, but they can also feed on seeds, stems, etc. when there is a shortage of green leaves on the plants. Though surprising these worms have got their names as armyworms because they march out of pastures and crops if they find depleted food and overcrowding in the plants in search of food. Hence they have derived their names as armyworms.
Armyworms the name may have the word ‘army’ in it which may take you into a state of confusion if these worms are capable of protecting your crops as an army man does? The answer to this question is a straightway ‘no,’ these worms may have an army in their names, but there are no characteristics that can be considered similar to the army men. Instead, these armyworms are crop destroyers and can cause significant harm to the harvests especially crops like rye and maize. Armyworms are mostly found in South and North America and also parts of Africa where they were seen at first.
The armyworms can grow up to a size of 1.5 inches and are usually green in color when they are in the larvae state and grows into an adult taking up their brown color. The mature armyworm can also be seen with dark colored stripes on their back and towards its side portion. Before forming the pupa, the armyworms stay in their caterpillar state for about a period of twenty-one days and then take an approximate of fourteen days to four weeks to develop themselves into an adult by the process of metamorphosis.
If you want to understand What are armyworms and the danger of them, then this is for you to read what actually happens. These armyworms have their wings of length two inches and are supposed to migrate to hotter regions during the cold winter seasons and again migrate to the temperate regions during summers. Talking about their reproduction process, armyworms can lay around two thousand eggs at a single point of time, and this may take about three weeks to hatch. Though hard to believe, these armyworms can even eat each other. Yes, these worms are cannibalistic, and if a plant is populated densely by these worms, they become enemies and end up eating each other. Another peculiar characteristic about these armyworms is that they mostly feed at night and can eat different types of plants. Studies reveal that they can feed on more than eighty kinds of plant species. But talking about their favorite food it is barley, maize, rye, cotton, sorghum, etc. They cause devastating damages by feeding on the plant leaves.
The lifecycle of armyworms
The eggs of the armyworm are laid in clusters, and you will not find the eggs laid in solace it is always a fluffy mass of egg that you can find on the leaves of plants. The eggs hatch up within two weeks, and the caterpillars that come out of the eggs behave like tiny eating machines and start feeding on the nearby leaves. They finally turn into an adult after a period of ten days till they are on their pupa stage and have the capacity of laying a massive number of eggs at the same time.
Types of armyworms
Armyworms mostly find themselves a hiding place beneath the leaves of plants during the daytime. Usually, there are three types of armyworms that you can sight in your yard namely beet armyworms, yellow striped armyworms and western yellow-striped armyworms.
- Beet Armyworm
Beet armyworms are green in color with a pale hue and possess light color linings and stripes on their sides. The eggs are laid by the females covered in hair like scaly material. These type of armyworms are usually supposed to feed on foliage, but in lack of food, they can also feed on the fruits especially when they have infested a tomato plant. These worms make holes and enter inside the tomatoes causing visible holes to be seen on the surface of tomatoes.
- Western yellow striped armyworm
As the name suggests, you can make out that these kinds of armyworms have yellow stripes on their sides. The females of these type of armyworms lay their eggs in a cluster and further cover it with a cottony material. You can spot these armyworms easily because they are the ones who play up their eating game during the daytime and are very find of tomatoes. Even if you don’t see these worms as a whole but are able to spot cottony masses on your plants, then these are undoubtedly the eggs of armyworms. You should get it removed as soon as possible if you want to save your plants from these pests.
- Yellow striped armyworm
These armyworms also have stripes on them, but the only difference is that these yellow-striped armyworms have numerous stripes that are small and only two large stripes.
There have been incidents of devastating Damage the armyworms caused to agriculture, these are pests that can start off slowly with their damaging task but can take it to a remarkably higher level if your crops are left unattended and not protected from the attack of these armyworms. Firstly you will be able to see only the feces of the armyworms on the affected area and ragged feeding. But slowly things will start to turn clear and show signs of attack by the armyworms. It is believed that these pests feed on grasses and plants with low heights during the spring season and as time flows with the wind, these worms move upside and try to feed on the fruits and leaves. These armyworms can skeletonize various types of leaves such as lettuce, cabbage, corn, etc. Especially when you talk about corn, it is supposed to be as one of their favorite food.
The armyworms cannot cause your garden to suffer a loss, but you cannot take this thing carelessly. You need to be cautious and careful from the very first step when you see sights of these armyworms. The feeding habits of armyworm may not kill your garden but may cause considerable losses and substantial damages. So make sure that you follow all the lawn care hacks to keep your garden look fresh and happy.
3. How to check if there are armyworms in your yard?
Pests are of many types, and if you want to check out if your garden is infested by an army of armyworms, then you can follow this hack to find out if there are any. Basically, there are two methods that you can opt to test out the infestation of army worms
- Soap water hack
In this method, you just need to fill a bucket with water and mix detergent powder or soap in it, keep it for some time and then pour the water into your garden or lawn. Wait for some time about ten minutes and then move forward to invigilate your garden area. If you find traces of worms coming on the surface of your garden, then you can very well understand that you have some unwanted guests feasting on your plants.
- The night invigilation
These armyworms are prone to come out at night and have a gala feast. So if you want to find out if there ate invaders in your garden, then you can walk into your garden during the night-time with a torch and find out if there are any caterpillars feeding on your plants.
4. Tips to get rid of armyworms
Here are a few tips that will help you to get rid of armyworms.
- Physical handpicking method
You surely might have understood the Damage the armyworms caused to agriculture, and if your farm is not infested by a huge population of armyworms, then you can manually pull these armyworms from the infested plants and drop these worms into a bucket filled with soapy water. The soapy water has the capability of killing armyworms. You can also pull them and stamp these moths to kill them and make sure that these worms are dead after this process or they might again fetch a way to reach your garden and hamper your plants.
- The spinosad hack
Spinosad is a pesticide that you can use in your garden to keep these pests away. Spinosad is an organic pesticide which will not harm your crops but will surely help you to drive off these tiny monsters from your garden and fields. Not only does this pesticide kill armyworm but also has the capability of killing many other pests.
- Neem oil
Neem oil is another natural way of removing these armyworms from your garden. But there is one limitation of using neem oil and that is neem oil works at its best in the removal of worms that is small in size but it may not be very effective for removal of worms that are bigger in size. Another thing to remember if you have sprayed neem oil on trees in your backyard is to wash all fruits that you are consuming from a tree which has been sprayed by neem oil because neem oil may cause irritation in your eyes and on your skin.so make sure that you wash the fruits properly before consuming it.
- Keeping some natural predators
Natural predators can also be helpful to you if you don’t want to see these armyworms in your backyard. Yes, this thought may make you think twice, but this is a fact that predators can help you to fight these armyworms off your beautiful garden or field. You can keep predators such as bords, lacewings, wasps, ladybugs, etc. which can feed on these armyworms and get your fields free from pests.
- Bacillus thuringiensis powder
This powder is very useful for protecting your plants and crops from armyworm infestation. It is a natural bacterium that is capable of keeping these worms at pace. This powder is toxic in nature and can cause damage to the digestive system of these armyworms making them vacate your plants as soon as they smell out this powder nearby. Not only is it effective for armyworms but it can also help you in preventing other garden pests from infesting your plants. It is better if you sprinkle this powder on your plants and in your garden at an early stage in order to prevent your plants as we all know that prevention is better than cure. So once you have dusted your plants with this powder, you can be at peace, and the chances are very minimal to spot an armyworm creeping up on your plant. It is also advisory to use this powder at the start of the season because it is effective on worms that are in their caterpillar stage and may not cause any effect on an adult armyworm. So make sure that you take control over these pests from the very beginning to protect your fields and crops.
- Trichogramma wasps
Trichogramma wasps are beneficial insects that are small in size just 1mm but have the capability of becoming a parasite to the eggs of armyworms. These insects inject their eggs into the eggs of the armyworms and in return killing them before they reach a stage of crippling the plants.
- Turning the soil
When it is off season time, you can turn the soil and loosen it so that if any such pests are present it, they can be kept exposed for the predators to eat. This will in return help you to get your yard free of these armyworms.
- Garden Dust
Garden dust is another thing that you can use in your yard to kill these armyworms. Other pesticides such as garden insect sprays, etc. can also be used for performing the same task of keeping these pests away.
- Horticultural sprays
You can also use Horticultural oil spray on plants that show sign of armyworm infestation. Usage of this spray will keep these pests away and will also reduce the fungal infection on the plants. But make sure that the spray covers the undersides of the leaves because this is the place where these worms are mostly found. Also, don’t forget to focus your eyeballs on the stems as well because they also find a hideout at the stem junctions.
- Organic insecticides
If the population of armyworms has grown high, then you can also use other types of pesticides available in the market to control the growth of armyworms. But remember that you should apply these insecticides before dusk.
Releasing nematodes to the soil will also help you in getting rid of armyworms. These nematodes do not harm the useful vertebrates or plants but feed on the eggs and larvae of such pests present in the soil thus helping you in cutting down on the growth of armyworms. They can murder the babies of armyworms and help you to keep your plants safe from the attack of the armyworms.
- Plant trees that attract predators
As we have said earlier that predators are good for you and can help you in getting rid of these pests, you need to have them in your garden at first. So you can plant trees that attract predators to your garden and in return pay you a rent by eating up all such armyworms that they can sight on the plants.
5. Summing up
All the important information that is needed regarding the damages caused by armyworms and the ways to get rid of them has been shared in the article. Use these ways and then thank us later.