On the way to the campground this week-end we commented on how big the leaves of the trees were, not knowing we should enjoy them while we have them!  ARMY WORMS!!!  When we camp at Grand Casino Hinckley we always run the back country roads.  It reminds me of the back roads in Wrenshall.  While running we experience beautiful forestry and quaint farms where locals work hard growing crops and raising cattle (which sometimes makes it difficult to breathe when running...."dairy air")...but we weren't prepared to see what we saw.  We should have been, it IS that time of year. They looked like tiny cotton sacs, stretched from limb to limb.  Sacs of army worm eggs...as the sun hit the sac, it luminated shadows of army worms not yet out, crawling around inside.  It took me a minute to realize the OUTSIDE of the sac had actual, rather healthy looking, army worms clinging to it, no doubt waiting for friends and family to "break out" of their cotton jail.  As we ran further, we noticed more and more of these birthing sacs.  I did my research and the experts say that 2011 is not in the cycle to be horrendous, but one is bad enough, don't you agree?

Remember about 10 years ago when they were at their peak?  They had a water truck go through before the Grandma's Half Marathon started to wash them off the road.  By the time the  full marathoners came through, the army worms had climbed back onto the road, causing a very slippery, sloppy run!

How did the army worms affect your summer the year they were bad?  Remember them hanging from the trees on a web-like string?

The name "armyworm" has been applied to the forest tent caterpillar and other moths whose numbers buildup, defoliate trees, and then move in great numbers to other trees to continue their leaf damage. The true armyworm, Pseudaletia unipuncta, is a caterpillar that belongs to the cutworm family, and it is primarily a pest of grasses, small grains, and corn.

Here's how you can protect your trees:

According to Echo Press, there are a number of insecticide soaps and sprays you can buy...or you could simple wrap the trunk of the tree with tin foil or plastic wrap and coat it with oil INSIDE AND OUT, those little buggers will go under your wrap job if you don't.

Good Luck!  May the "forest" be with you....(ok, bad joke, but couldn't resist)!

via Forest Disease Newsletter: Armyworms: Minnesota DNR.

via Echo Press:  How to Protect Your Trees from Forest Tent Caterpillars.