Last week while the weather was warmer, my wife and I were taking our dog for a walk around the neighborhood. While we were strolling we came across this caterpillar, and I had to wonder out loud if this is another one of those caterpillars that can detect how Minnesota's weather will be this winter. From what I've gathered, that isn't likely, but I did learn what this caterpillar is.

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The caterpillar that I managed to photograph is a yellow-striped armyworm. According to

Armyworms, also referred to as caterpillars and moths, are threats to ecosystems wherever you find them. And what makes armyworms so bad? The insects travel in massive groups, apparently even across countries, and destroy crops, lawns, trees, and near any organic matter in their path in fast, scarily efficient manners. The creatures are the causes of millions of dollars in property damage a year.

The University of Minnesota Extension Office reported an infestation of armyworms in May of 2022, and part of that report from the Extension Office stated that the armyworm being seen in 2022 might indicate that Minnesota will be seeing more armyworms over the next few years.

Image Credit: Paul Shea/TSM
Image Credit: Paul Shea/TSM

Migrating armyworm moths have been moving into Minnesota since early May. U of M Extension Office

The good news about these armyworms is that they can't survive Minnesota's winter months, due to the extreme cold we see. So any armyworms you may have seen, or that are living in your lawn/field, will die soon, but it seems adult moths come back in the spring and summer and the cycle starts all over again.

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