North Florida Lawn Pest of the Month: Sod Webworms

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Rusty Thompson on July 12th, 2022

Sod webworms are a common nuisance in St. Augustine and Zoysia lawns. Sometimes they're just pesky and can be easily ignored, but often they can destroy a lawn as they multiply. Even minor infestations in poorly managed turfgrass stressed by hot, humid, and rainy weather can cause problems for homeowners and property managers. Because it’s difficult to detect this pest early on, managing sod webworms may present challenges without proactive lawn treatments.

What are sod webworms?
Sod webworms are the larvae of lawn moths. They live in the root level of your lawn and munch up the tops of grass leaves. A large population can kill an entire lawn in a matter of days!

What does sod webworm damage look like?
When the weather turns hot, patches of your grass may start to turn brown a d looked scalped or chewed down. If you see little moths flying above your grass and the scalped patches start to grow, you could have a North Florida lawn pest known as the tropical sod webworm.

Damage caused by sod webworms first appears as small, brown patches of closely clipped grass. These patches may come together to form large irregular dead areas.

An early sign of potential infestation is sod webworm moths zig-zagging over the turf at dusk and morning. If a sod webworm infestation is suspected, closely examine the turf for evidence of insect activity. Small patches of grass will be chewed off at ground level. Fresh clippings and green fecal pellets are also usually present at the soil level.

Why do I have sod webworms?
In general, a proactive lawn fertilization program is your best bet against sod webworms from ever entering your yard. This means regularly watering – but not overwatering them because over watered lawns are enticing to adult moths ready to lay eggs – and reducing any stresses on your yard.

How do I eliminate Sod Webworms in my lawn?
Professional lawn spraying is the best solution for controlling sod webworms. Retail pesticides sold in Home Improvement stores can also be effective solutions for killing sod webworms. Look for products advertising St. Augustine lawn pest control, and that say webworms or show a photo of a worm. Homeowner products do take 3-4 applications to break the webworms life cycle, and you can damage your ecosystem if not used in accordance with the label.

Too long and don't care to read? Or want to see visual webworm damage?
Watch our Video here: How to identify sod webworms and how to control them

If you're tired of fighting the battle for pest control in your North Florida lawn, call our office at (352) 378-LAWN or fill out our online form so we can schedule a meeting to discuss how we can help!


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