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June 12, 2012 - 2:50pm

Cornell warns of 'worst outbreak in years' for armyworm

posted by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, armyworm.

Armyworms are on the march and Cornell Cooperative Extension is alerting area farms and residents to be on the look out for the potentially destructive pest.

The worms come out in mass every four or five years, but Jan Beglinger, agriculture outreach coordinator for Cornell in Batavia, said this season's infestation is "one of the worst outbreaks we've seen in years."

The worms munch on grasses and pose a threat to wheat and corn.

Farmers are well aware of armyworms and how to deal with them, Beglinger said, but that doesn't mean they won't have their hands full.

Typically, farmers need to spray infected areas and a border area of 20 or 30 feet to knock back an infestation.

Residents with large lawns should be on the look out for infestations, too. The worms eat grass, but don't eat roots, so lawns should recover; however, homeowners should look in to a lawn-specific pesticide formulated to kill armyworms to help control the infestation.

If a homeowner lives next to a farm and sees an infestation moving toward a field, the courteous thing to do is notify the farmer so he can possibly take protective action, Beglinger said.

Armyworms have been reported from Erie County to Monroe County and every place in between, Beglinger said.

"It's a cyclical insect that comes out every four to five years, but it seems a lot worse this year than it normally is," Beglinger said.

Resources:

Mandy Esten
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They are absolutely terrible at my house! My lawn is all dead because of them! They are crawling up my house and my b
barn!

Mike Redick
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They are bad around my property too. I haven't noticed any lawn damage.....yet. You can tell the areas where they are crossing the roads en masse by the darkened areas of pavement caused by vehicles running them over.

Mardell Lamb
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Yuck!

Reminds me of those nasty "tent caterpillars" in the trees. Used to set those on fire.

JERRY CONDELLO
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WARNING: If you have a weak stomach skip to the next comment...
Yesterday was such a beautiful day. I decided to ride my motorcycle to work. Needless to say I had shorts on. On they way home at 6:30 pm I felt spray on my legs from the guts of these nasty armyworms. I will never ride in shorts again. Disgusting

Timothy Hens
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We won't need to mow at the county airport for a while. They are everywhere; including inside the buildings!

Mardell Lamb
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Eeeeeeewwwww!!!!

Janice Stenman
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Jerry, Bug guts are only one good reason not to ride in shorts!!

Janice Stenman
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Howard, Thanks for alerting us to this problem and the links. I've seen this little buggers before and didn't kill them because I didn't know if they were the larva of some exotic butterfly. As of now, we are at war!

E. S. Sherman
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The hard part is that so many little farmers are not even aware of these until they have killed every thing. They will cycle around and become moths shortly but will hatch again in July sometime. Don't kid yourself that the big farms are ahead of them either. They are and will be for a while destroying some of the big farmers crops.

They work way too fast for the farmers to completely keep up with them.

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