Troop movement: Army worms invade CNY

Troop movement has been sighted west of Syracuse. No, it isnâ??t military activity, but it does have to do with an army of sorts. Itâ??s an invasion of army worms, a type of caterpillar, and theyâ??ve recently been sighted devouring grass-crops at a break-neck pace.

John Hourigan, of Houriganâ??s Dairy Farm in Elbridge tells me â??itâ??s just amazing how fast they move. Thatâ??s why theyâ??re called army worms, they march up, destroy a field, and move onto the next field.â??

Believe it or not, army worms are pretty much present every year here in CNY, theyâ??re just present in remarkably smaller numbers. Farmers like John tell me itâ??s been a very long time since theyâ??ve had to deal with a real invasion like this.

â??50 years of farming, itâ??s my first battle with them. As a kid, I remember the farmers talking about army worms. So itâ??s my first experience, and the first experience for a lot of people in this area.â??

According to Dan Welch of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Cayuga county, there may be a round two coming soon to a farm near you. Typically, this second round is weaker than the first.

â??In the second generation, because thereâ??s so many of them, diseases and parasites wills tart to multiply in the population, killing some of them off. So, weâ??re very hopeful that the second generation wonâ??t be as significant as the first.â??

Armed with crop scouts watching his crops everyday, and pesticides to apply when needed, farmers like John Hourigan will be ready to wage another battle against the invading army worms.