Watch out: Armyworms invading some Wichita lawns

Local

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Armyworms by the thousands are on the attack in Wichita, putting lawns in danger.

Armyworms prefer crops and lawn grasses. A sign of armyworms is often small, brown patches of grass on your lawn.

It’s a small caterpillar that can do some serious damage in a short period of time. But don’t worry, experts say there are ways to win the war against these little critters.

“Never thought I would be so excited to smash a bug,” said Cyndi DeRee, who lives in Wichita.

It’s been a week since DeRee said she first noticed little caterpillars in her grass. “Our grass turned brown within two days. They are very damaging,” said DeRee.

DeRee said she treated her lawn twice now, but the Armyworms have taken over.

“We spend a lot of time out here every night and every morning just smashing because I figure if I can kill one or two or a 100, then that is going to help,” said DeRee.

Marty Johnson, Johnson’s Garden Center owner, said 75 people called him Wednesday asking for help.

“The moths will lay eggs, and there can be up to 1,000 eggs each female moth can drop in a yard, so those caterpillars are hungry they have got to eat something to survive,” Johnson said. “And right now is when they are doing that.”

To get rid of the bugs, Johnson recommends caterpillar bug killer sprays and pesticides.

“They are biological controls, and they are only going to kill caterpillars, so they are not going to target other insects,” said Johnson.

DeRee said to be on the lookout before it is too late.

“If you’ve seen them on your sidewalk, run to your nearest nursery and get them taken care of,” said Deree.

Johnson said caterpillar killing supplies are in high demand. He said it has been 20 years since he’s seen the worms this bad in the Wichita area.

The garden center said the easiest solution is Natural Guard Spinosad with a ready-to-spray nozzle for your garden hose. The best is to apply it early in the morning before bees are active, then let it stand at least 12 hours before mowing or watering.

Officials said it is a good idea to keep pets off the lawn while the product is wet.

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