County's armyworm population unusually large

This year Saline County residents have had to fight an unusually large population of armyworms (caterpillars).

Armyworms eat grass and can especially affect hay farmers.

Billy Grace, who works on a farm near the Saline and Grant countyline, said he has spent about $1,000 lately just on poison to kill armyworms.

His 30-acre farm with 88 rows only had 33 rows after the armyworms started eating, he said.
He has had to spray the farm twice.

"It's just part of (being a farmer)," he said.

Normally a farmer has to spray only once to get rid of the worms, but this year farmers have noticed multiple generations of the worms, said Saline County Agent Ron Matlock of the Cooperative Extension Service, University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture.

This worms have occurred in both rural and city areas, Matlock said.

Because the armyworms come from moths that lay eggs in a yard, the armyworms can occur anywhere, Matlock said. The worms hide under debris during the day and come out in the evenings and early mornings.

To get rid of the armyworms, residents can spray their yard and fortunately the grass will grow back, he said.

According to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the worms get their names from the way they move — "across fields in an army-like fashion."