Armyworms destroy Henrico woman’s yard as destructive bugs spread into central Virginia

Virginia News

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Some homeowners in the Richmond area are finding their lawns turning from green to brown, several months too soon. It’s not cold weather, but ravenous bugs that have been spreading across the country.

Beth Hughes found her yard speckled with bald spots and dead grass recently.

“Our lawn was like starting to brown. We thought maybe it’s just the heat, so we watered it and it didn’t get better,” she said.

With the recent rain in Central Virginia, Hughes couldn’t figure out why the grass was greener on the other side.

“We’re like ‘Why is it dying when it gets a good bit of runoff?’,” she said.

After seeing chatter on social media about armyworms eating people’s grass, Hughes checked her soil and found the critters invading her lawn last Sunday. She sprayed pesticide along the brown line forming in her backyard, but that didn’t seem to solve her problem.

“Seemed like it was working, but then we realized they were in our front yard and so we kind of panicked again,” said Hughes.

Friday morning, armyworms were spotted again — but this time they were munching on her flowers in the front yard.

Hughes hired a professional lawn care company that said the worms are not common in Central Virginia, but they could cause major damage overnight.

She said they told her offshore winds from the South have blown adult moths to our area this summer. The caterpillars eventually march in groups and leave brown turf behind as they feed on grass.

“To see half of the yard just decimated was disheartening,” Hughes said after dealing with the critters. Now, however, she’s determined to get rid of the armyworms for good.

“You do put a lot of money into something so nice and then for it to just in a weekend be gone is very upsetting,” said Hughes.

It may take a long time for the grass to grow back to normal, but she plans to re-seed soon. And hopefully this time, her yard will stay armyworm-free.

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