Army worms have infiltrated Deep East Texas

Army worms have infiltrated Deep East Texas
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff

ANGELINA COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - It's being called an epidemic that is spreading across Deep East Texas, and the culprit is eating away lawns, gardens, and hay pastures.

Armyworms have become a big headache for home and landowners, and they're only about an inch long.

Julie Jackson is getting used to the idea of army worms infiltrating her backyard and pasture.

"Since it's gotten hot through the day, they have migrated from they driveway to into the yard, and the farrier also told me when he was out at the barn doing the horses they were out there, too," Jackson said.

The insects get their name because they travel in small armies capable of mowing down a yard in a matter of hours.

"San Augustine, Bermuda whatever you got in your yard, hay meadows, people that raise hay for a living kind are in trouble," said Nancy Martin, an employee at Lufkin Farm Supply and Nursery. "They're trying to keep them out. That's their livelihood."

The critters are technically caterpillars but can eat a field of grass out of sight in a matter of hours.

"I remember a few last year, mostly in hay meadows. If they were in people's yards, I don't really remember, but I've only worked here about five years, but I've never seen anything like this," Martin said.

Nacogdoches County Texas A&M AgriLife Agent Ricky Thompson said the fluctuating timings of recent rains and lack of moisture can bring them out in full force.

The Lufkin Farm Supply and Nursery recommends spraying your lawn with a liquid insecticide.

As for Jackson, she's hoping she'll be soon able to produce hay.

"Hopefully, we'll have enough for the winter because from what I understand, once they show up nothing last very long," Jackson said.

Thompson said that this year there has been an unusually larger impact of armyworms than years before.

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