Army worms invade local farms | Environment
Army worms are on the attack in our area. They can eat their way through a farm field or a lawn in just days.
Bill Dobson lives on Parma Center Road and learned that Army worms are really yellow green caterpillar, the larvae of an adult moth.
Bill Dobson said, “When I discovered them, I said, ‘Holy geez, what is this?’”
He looked out to the wheat field behind his house and saw a virtual army of occupation.
Dobson said,” About a week before I discovered them, birds were going goofy back there, just flying around and dive-bombing, flocks of them in the wheat. Well, we figured out why. It's because of these Army worms. They were eating the Army worms.”
Dobson's backyard is where News10NBC met up with Walt Nelson, a Cornell Agriculture and Horticulture Specialist. He showed us where all the leaves on the wheat stalks were gone.
Nelson said, “When they get on the march, just like an army, moving through an area and defoliating grasses.”
The owner of this field called in an air strike in the form of a crop dusting plane just in a time to save the grain heads of this crop.
Nelson said,” They climb up the stalk, and then work their work their way down. On the way up they'll eat the foliage and on the way down they'll finish it off.”
Jack Moore at Gro-Moore Farms says Army worms invaded his son's 400-cow dairy farm in Dansville.
Moore said, “They ate about 10 acres and within 18 to 24 hours they had devoured 100, 100 acres in less than a day basically.”
At the invasion site in Parma, the Army worms were all dead except for a few battlefield survivors.
Nelson said,” Well he was hiding so he must have been camouflaged on the leaf blade of that wheat plant.”
Fortunately for Strawberry lovers, the army worm is in full retreat. Jack Moore says they don’t like Strawberry leaves. An army worm infestation can lay waste to a field in days. This is very similar to the crane fly invasion several years ago.