If you have a lawn or have even seen a lawn in the southeast recently, you’ve probably seen an armyworm. These pests have a way of crashing a party that makes homeowners and turf managers alike wish for a magic wand to make them all disappear. Here’s what you need to know.

Armyworms are moth larvae with an appetite for grasses. Female moths typically lay egg masses at night, most often on light colored surfaces. These egg masses can contain up to 200 eggs, which will hatch in 2-4 days. The tiny larvae spin down to the grass on silken webs, where they will feed and grow to their adult size of 1 ¼ inch to 1 ½ inch.

If you discover armyworms in your turf, it is best to mow before treating as this will reduce the depth that the product must penetrate. Light irrigation before treatment can also make the worms more active. It is best to treat early or late in the day as that is when the larvae are most active.

Refer to your local extension agency for the best chemical treatments in your area.