Easy Ways of Controlling Armyworms in Home Gardens
Armyworms can be destructive in home gardens. They travel in small insect units or armies that tend to destroy plants in their paths. Large infestations result in serious levels of defoliation on most plants in your garden. Thankfully, they are vulnerable to natural predators such as insects, birds and other predators and other chemical agents that you can use to control them. You can thus control them in the following ways.
Inspect the gardens for signs of damage on plants and larvae on plants during early stages. The underside of leaves should be checked, if discovered, worms should be handpicked and disposed of in soapy water to kill. After that, the carcasses should be discarded safely. This technique is referred to as scouting and greatly limits crop damage.
Pheromone traps are effective for monitoring the presence of moths, which indicate the arrival of armyworms. You can then take another alternative to get rid of the armyworms.
A more natural way of control is the use of birds and predator animals that destroy the larvae of armyworms. The Proper turning of soil exposes the pupae to birds. To add on that, you can also introduce nematodes to destroy armyworm eggs, larvae and pupae in the soil. This greatly hinders the development of worms to their adult destructive stages. Trichogramma wasps parasitize newly laid eggs thus hindering development into plant destructive larval stage.
Application of organic insecticides is highly advisable in cases where the pest infestation is way above tolerable levels. Alternative you can use garden dust over liquid insecticides at this stage.
Natural horticultural water and oil sprays are efficient in symptomatic plants. A good example here is the Neem oil spray that is highly effective in controlling worms when fully applied to cover all targeted plant parts. The eggs are specifically susceptible to treatment with petroleum oils. Additionally, bacillus thuringiensis and spinosad are also ideal against young armyworms, and they have the added advantage of being on the environment. You need a well-calibrated boom sprayer for the best results. It's, however, important to keep track of periods between treating and harvesting of crops to avoid causing harm to people.
General mowing of grass and keeping it at desirable short levels is another control method. Water and spray the grass with appropriate insecticides without neglecting the manufacturer's directions. After that, the grass should be left and given ample time so that the insecticide can take effect.
Harmful insecticides should be avoided, as they have been known to have detrimental effects on most beneficial insects that offer invaluable natural defence against armyworms. They are in fact the first line of natural defence.