Hilton, N.Y. (Evan White WHAM-TV) — What looks like a caterpillar, but moves in with the might of an Army?
The answer are insects commonly known as Armyworms. The worms travel in great numbers and like to eat hay, wheat and other farm crops, oh, and they like grass quite a bit.
“A storm system, about a month ago, brought adult Armyworm moths to Western, New York (from the south),” said Walter Nelson, Program Leader Agriculture & Horticulture at Cornell Cooperative Extension Monroe County.
Glona Chatterson has lived next to a Hilton farm for 43 years and has never seen a species crawl out of the field like this one.
“I feel like we’re overrun by something we have no control over,” said Chatterson.
Her neighbor, Marlene Herbster also has her share of Armyworms.
“My daughter noticed all the bugs, slipped and got grossed out and came in screaming and said there are worms attacking our yard,” said Herbster.
Farm owner Ronald Breshlawski told 13WHAM News the worms, which are really caterpillars have ruined about one-third of his wheat crop.
He had a pesticide sprayed across his land.
"My son was over there this morning, to see what the result was, and he said they were dead all over the place," explained Breshlawski.
Armyworms have reportedly been found across upstate, locally in Orleans, Monroe and Livingston Counties.
In about a month, this generation of Armyworms will transform into moths. Their offspring are not expected to be as overwhelming in population as the current group according to Nelson.
“There will be a large number of natural enemies, bacterial enemies waiting for them to hatch,” said Nelson.
Breshlawski and Nelson said the last time such an “invasion,” took place was in 2008.