Army worms, sod web worms, lawn grubs, spodoptera mauritia – it doesn’t matter what you call them – they can cause massive problems to your lawn and do so quickly. The main risk periods for army worm infestation in South East Queensland are Autumn/Winter and especially after heavy rain that follows a dry period.
The grubs that are found in the lawn are the caterpillar stage of certain moths and move like an army through your lawn, destroy the plants, lay their eggs and then, like an army, move on. They are greyish- brown, greenish or even black in colour and can be found throughout Queensland but are more commonly found in coastal and sub-coastal areas. They shelter in the soil during the day and after dark come out to feed, targeting healthy lawns and those plants with young leaf tissue.
There are signs to watch out for that can mean army worms have moved in:
- Moths may be seen hovering over the grass or near any lights;
- Eggs can be seen on surrounding trees, fences and even the house;
- There are bare in the lawn and the young leaf tissue is tattered.
To make sure that you definitely have army worms you can either separate the plants between damaged plants and healthy plants to look for the worms themselves or the small green balls of waste they have left behind; or place a piece of wet hessian on the grass at night – first thing in the morning check the underside for any worms.
If your lawn is infested, treatment is required sooner rather than later since this pest destroys plants quickly, lays a lot of eggs and exists in large numbers in any one infestation. Eradication as soon as possible is highly recommended. Fortunately eradication is quite a simple process once you know what you are dealing with. A fast acting insecticide such as Sir Walter Pest Control or Lawn Lovers Grub Guard will get the job done. Make sure that the product you use is suitable for your particular type of lawn and always read the instructions before use. Apply the insecticide as late in the day as you can since they are night feeders and it is best to apply while the adults are active. You can save watering in the granulated Sir Walter Pest Control by apply the insecticide while it is raining.
After you have rid your lawn of these pests it is a great idea to give it a dose of a nitrogen rich fertiliser as well as a good water to assist the lawn to recover. Lawn Lover Grub Guard can also be used as a preventative treatment and used as soon as moths appear, prior to the first attack by the leaf eating worms. Eradication of this plague unfortunately won’t ensure that your lawn won’t be infested again. If you have a lawn, particularly a nice healthy one, you will need to remain vigilant for those moths especially after heavy rain. You can contact Daleys Turf for more information on Army Worm eradication.