We’re going to talk about an insect that attacks lawns here in the Midwest and really throughout most of the country, including Florida. We’re going to talk about sod webworms.
Sod webworm is kind of an overall term used for a lot of different caterpillars that attack lawns but generally they’re going to start feeding in the spring.
They overwinter and then in the spring they come up and begin to feed. But you don’t really notice the problem at that point because your lawn is vigorously growing in the spring and it kind of out grows any damage. However, when we get to summertime, the lawn growth will typically slow down or even stop as the lawn goes into summer dormancy. And when that happens, these caterpillars or sod webworms continue to feed.
However, you don’t necessarily notice the damage because of the fact that your lawns already brown from being dormant. Once the lawns begin to green up and late August and September when temperatures come down a little bit, we get some moisture. That’s when the damage is noticed.
You’ll see here are a couple of Kentucky bluegrass lawns that have been completely decimated by sod webworm. Here’s another one this is bent grass and this one has also been severely damaged from sod webworms. One way to tell that you’re possibly going to have a sock webworm problem is you’ll see the adult moths flying up.
As you walk now the adults don’t do any damage to the lawn but they are definitely an indicator that you’re going to have larvae and the larvae will do damage.
I get sawed webworm every year in my tall fescue lawn but they don’t cause enough damage for me to treat. I practice integrated pest management which basically says if I don’t think they’re going to cause major damage to my desirable crop, which in this case is grass, I let them go and my lawns pretty vigorous anyway. It kind of grows through any of the issues that these sub web will cause.
However, here you can see a few of the caterpillars that I did dig up. You can see what they look like and then also through this post you’ve seen what the adults look like, as I chase them through my lawn. If you are going to treat because you’ve got along that’s seeing damage, you want to definitely do that in July and possibly again in late August.
It just depends on how our year goes. Usually sod webworm will get two life cycles in but I have seniors where there are three full life cycles. You want to use a product that contains bifenthrin which is sometimes known as tall star would be like the branded name. You can also use a product that contains dialogues.