North Texas

Fall Armyworms Invading North Texas

There's an invasion underway in North Texas. Caterpillars known as fall armyworms are swarming yards, chewing up grass and damaging crops and fields. Now homeowners are fighting back to save their green grass.

For a family of four kids, a big yard is a must. Around Arely Alarcon's Fort Worth home, there's always something to discover.

"We had mushrooms, we had frogs, toads I guess," said Alarcon.

When NBC 5 visited, the mission was hunting for armyworms. The name is deceptive, they're actually caterpillars and they are taking over North Texas.

"There's one there, there's one there, they're just all over," said Alarcon, pointing around her yard.

For Alarcon's family, hunting the caterpillars makes for a fun afternoon. But the tiny creatures can cause some serious destruction.

Amber Monday shared a photo of her yard in Lewisville chewed to bits after just one day of the army worm invasion. Alarcon sees a difference too.

"Oh that is so true because it was so much greener before,” she said. “Because we had so much rain, it looked so beautiful all green."

Farmers face the biggest risk. Experts at Texas A&M warn that a swarm of armyworms can damage entire fields or pastures in just a few days. They're most prominent after heavy rain.

"Yeah, see because it's all dead-ish and it wasn't like this a couple of days ago," Alarcon said.

She and her husband are now thinking of turning to pesticide, before their yard turns to dirt.

North Texans taking a stand against an army on the move.

Texas A&M says infestations of more than two to three armyworms per square foot may justify using insecticide to protect crops. But experts say grass will recover on its own after the caterpillars retreat to turn into moths.

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