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Local landscapers swarmed with armyworm inquiries, appointments

Wichita landscaping companies swamped with calls to combat armyworms
Published: Aug. 16, 2021 at 2:51 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - They may have started out as pesky yard bugs but this recent infestation of armyworms is wreaking havoc on lawns across south-central Kansas.

Local landscape professionals said they are working around the clock to exterminate them.

“I think everyone’s working as much as they possibly can to get a grip on the situation,” said Matt Hermes, owner of Elite Landscape Solutions, LLC, in Wichita.

Hermes said he has worked every day for about a week with non-stop customer calls about armyworms.

“A lot of people have called in thinking there’s an issue with their sprinkler system or that they’ve got some sort of fungus, that’s actually not the case,” said Hermes. “In 99 percent of circumstances, it’s been armyworms.”

Dewey Mcfeeter’s son owns Four Star Lawn Care. He said the company has sprayed for armyworms from Derby to Andover and up to Newton.

“They can come in and wipe out a yard in two, three days real quick. The last time I saw them around here, I think it was about 19 years ago, roughly. But they didn’t do this type of damage,” said Dewey Mcfeeters.

He said Four Star Lawn Care has covered more than a hundred yards just since last week.

“Probably about 120, 130 yards. But we’ve got calls coming in every day and we worked this Saturday and normally we don’t even work Saturdays,” said Mcfeeters.

Landscaping professionals say seeing sudden patches of brown, dead grass when it was once a green healthy color, could be a sign that your lawn is infested with armyworms.

“From the clients that we’ve talked to, to even us being in the industry, everyone seems to be running really low on the chemical. I think all your big box stores and retailers are out,” said Hermes.

“A lot of these yards that are wiped out, they’re going to need to be re-seeded and I think people are going to be in shock for the price,” said Mcfeeters. “Because grass seed is up 40 percent, labor’s hard to find.”

Mcfeeters and Hermes said the best thing to do is preventatively spray your yard to avoid an even bigger, more expensive problem down the road.

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