Army worn is a common lawn pest in Australia, and attacks all lawn types, including buffalo grass lawns. Zoysia lawns are the only lawn types which seem to have a good natural resistance to army worm, although they too are not completely immune from attack.
Infestation of army worms in buffalo lawns is via a type of moth named Spodoptera mauritia, which will fly onto lawns at night time and lay hundred of eggs under the leaf of the turf. After which the eggs will hatch in around 10 days and which will then become an infestation of army worm in our home buffalo lawns.
Another method of infestation of army worms occurs when a neighbour has the pests in their lawn, and these little caterpillars migrate to other nearby lawns. Although as already stated, they may just skip a neighbouring lawn if its Zoysia.
Damage from army worms will be noticeable by irregular shaped brown patches which occur in different places on the lawn, and which will be noticeable as continuing to spread in size over a short span of time.
Do I Have Army Worm
Army worm can be difficult to detect, especially if we're not even aware that we need to be looking out for them. The reason for this is because they will bury themselves beneath the surface of the lawn during the day time, and only come out at night to feed.
There are two main ways to detect army worm in buffalo lawns. The first is to drown the damaged lawn area with water from a garden hose for a few minutes. If army worms are present then they will come to the surface of the turf to be identified.
The next method to find army worm in buffalo grass is to take a torch with a nice strong beam and go out to the lawn at night time. Using the torch - we want to look all around the area of buffalo which has been damaged to see if we can positively see these little caterpillars eating our buffalo grass. Just be sure to look outside of the main damaged area in particular, because if the army worms have already eaten the green foliage in this area, then they will need to spread out to other areas of green turf in order to keep feeding.
How To Kill Army Worm in Buffalo Grass
The local nursery will stock a pesticide which is used to kill army worms. The product is usually mixed and applied from a watering can to the lawn area just before night time. This ensures the army worm caterpillars will ingest the pesticide at the same time as feeding on the buffalo grass.
If a granular form of army worm pesticide is being used, then this should be applied and watered into the turf also just before sunset.
Repeat applications to kill army worm as is necessary until the problem is controlled.
As with all pesticides, be sure to read and follow manufacturers recommended application instructions as perfectly as possible for greatest results and least possibility of causing environmental damage or other risk associated with any type of pesticide.