Armyworms wreak havoc in St. Marys

Although the gypsy moth population did not turn out to be as much of a problem as predicted, another caterpillar has already begun to wreak havoc in Elk County.During Monday night's Elk County Conservation District Board of Director's meeting, Toby Herzing of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources reported receiving numerous calls from farmers worried about a little green and brown worm that was ravaging their hay fields.The Fall Armyworm is regarded as a pest that can destroy crops if left to multiply. Once the armyworm eats the food supply in an area the entire "army" will move to the next available food source.Herzing said many of the calls were from farmers near the airport and Bucktail Road area in St. Marys."Some of the people out on Bucktail [Road] and out by the airport there are 30 to 40 acre hay fields that are just sticks standing up," Herzing said. "They [armyworms] are always here, it's just this year they are extremely bad. They have destroyed whole hay fields and from what I was reading it said that if they are in an area where there are hay fields-- once they destroy it they will move into your lawn in search of food until they become a moth, but they live in the ground and they are there all of the time."Pick up a copy of the Wednesday, June 27, 2012 edition of The Ridgway Record for more.