Armyworms take over sports complexes throughout East Texas

Armyworm moths can lay up to two thousand eggs that hatch in about three days.

Armyworms take over sports complexes throughout East Texas
Invasion of the armyworms (Source: KLTV/KTRE)

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - An invasion has taken over athletic fields and golf courses all over East Texas.

Armyworms are a nuisance that come with the change of the season.

“It’s one of the roughest years we’ve ever had, we’ve treated them before, but the extent of this year has been an ongoing problem,” Lufkin Parks and Rec Director Mike Akridge says, “these armyworms have basically taken over.”

The Lufkin athletic fields look mangy with huge spots of dead brown grass as armyworms infect the area. These worms make a habit of feeding on valuable crops and turf. It’s an insatiable appetite for such a small insect.

At the Pine Springs golf course in Tyler, these pests are being wiped out with natural elements.

“Just spraying four ounces per acre and it knocks them out pretty quick, within a day or two they are gone,” Pine Springs golf course superintendent Craig Murphy says.

It takes three days to spray 90 acres, but Murphy says it gets the job done.

Back in Lufkin, the fields have already been treated several times, but the infestation continues to spread.

“How can they keep coming back, we treat them, and they go. I don’t know what brings them back. They say the water, the rain, whatever, but it creates a lot of problems with our crew, pulling them from one job to another job having to come out here,” Akridge says.

Armyworm moths can lay up to two thousand eggs that hatch in about three days, according to the AgriLife extension office. It is reported that they can consume entire fields or pastures in just a few days.

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