Army Worms Infest Local Plantation

Emily Cassulo

GRAND JUNCTION, Tenn. - In the past few weeks, most of West Tennessee finally got some much needed rain, which is good for area crops, but can actually be bad for them too. Sometimes more rain can bring more bugs.

The rain causes the grass to become greener and more lush, and that can invite army worms.

They are here about two weeks earlier this year, because of the warmer weather.

Jamie Evans works and lives on Ames Plantation, and army worms are the last thing he wants on their field.

"You don't have a great deal of time once they find you until the damage is done, so we're out taking care of that with some spray," Evans said.

Evans said the worms prefer forage crops, but could eat soybeans and other vegetable crops too. They favor Bermuda Grass and certain millets - both crops he uses to feed the plantation's livestock.

"The army worm has the potential to completely defoliate a field if their numbers are great enough, and in this case, our numbers were far above the economic threshold for spraying," he said.

The worms may be small, but farmers said they can cause a lot of damage, and quickly.

"I estimate that had we not treated this field, in 10 days to two weeks probably over half of the vegetation here would've been consumed," Evans said.

And that is a lot of money they would lose.

Army worms do not just impact farmers, but homeowners too. Especially those with Bermuda Grass in their lawns.

"They don't care whether it's a lawn in Jackson, Tennessee or a Bermuda field down in Fayette County," Evans said. "They're not discriminatory in the least, and they will eat a lawn as well."

Evans said you cannot always prevent the worms, but it is best to be vigilant and monitor your crops and plants often.

According to Evans, usually one treatment is all you need to get rid of the worms, but it is smart to still check out your crops or lawn every few days to make sure the worms do not come back.


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