Fort Worth

In North Texas, it’s the attack of the mysterious mothlike creatures. What are they?

First they attacked our yards.

Now they swarming like crazy, flying inside homes, cars or simply surrounding your face as a defense mechanism.

What are they?

They’re armyworm moths.

The unwelcome critter was blown into North Texas over the last month making homeowners flee inside when they come out at night.

“They’re just a nuisance,” said Dotty Woodson of Texas A&M Agrilife Extension. “All they do is pollinate, lay eggs and die.”

But in their earlier caterpillar state they can lay waste to yards and pastures. Pesticides can control them and while they can attack a lawn or pasture they don’t eat the roots, so the damage is temporary.

“My brother had them in his hayfield in Leon County (in Central Texas),” Woodson said. “They literally attacked it. But he went back the next week to spray and they were gone.”

They aren’t usually so widespread in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. This year they were blown up by strong, southerly winds and been helped by the warm, wet conditions this fall.

“It’s the biggest fall armyworm outbreak in the 30 years I’ve been here,” said Mike Merchant, a Texas A&M Agrilife urban entomologist. “They’ll go away when we have the first frost.”

Bill Hanna: 817-390-7698, @ fwhanna
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