Have you ever found your grass chomped on with no suspicious pests in sight? There are many damaging insects in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, but few actually shave down grass blades. If you think something is eating your grass, you might have a Sod Webworm situation.
What is Sod Webworm?
Sod webworm is a destructive insect that feeds on grass blades. While their adult moth form is easy to spot fluttering around, their larval stage is harder to spot. This caterpillar stage is the only time when they cause significant damage to your turf.
You’re most likely to see Sod Webworm moths throughout summer when they are actively laying eggs. While they might be annoying, these moths aren’t actually dangerous to you or your plants. The troublesome sod webworm grubs are much more destructive and much more hidden.
How To Identify Sod Webworms
Sod webworms are challenging to find. If you’re lucky enough to spot them, webworms have green bodies with noticeably dark heads. As they mature, they will turn to a tan or brown color and reach the average height of ¾ of an inch.
They often rest in tall patches of grass, shady areas, and dense greenery to hide from the heat. If you look closely, you may notice their clear or brown eggs attached to grass blades. If you’re still not spotting the culprit, watch out for their green-colored frass (fecal matter). This is an easily recognizable indication that sod webworms are actively making a meal out of your turf. Finally, you may be able to spot their underground silk-lined burrows which they create to hide in.
How They Affect Your Lawn
While sod webworm moths might be bothersome fluttering around your yard, they don’t harm your grass whatsoever. However, they’re an indication that you might have a sod webworm infestation. The issue happens within your lawn, where sod webworms spend their nights eating foliage.
In order to grow into a mature moth, the young webworms require lots of food and energy from turfgrasses all across the United States. The caterpillars specifically target grass blades, which they chew down to a stump. This disrupts your lawn’s ability to photosynthesize and causes uneven, discolored patches.
These patches are noticeably brown and will expand if the infestation isn’t treated. While this usually doesn’t kill the grass, a sod webworm infestation in addition to a drought or other harsh conditions makes it more likely for your grass to die. Even the toughest lawns can be weakened by extreme conditions.
How to Treat Sod Webworm
Before you treat for webworms, it’s important to check that you’ve diagnosed your lawn correctly. The last thing you want to do is waste time and energy on an incorrect control application. The ‘soapy flush’ is a key method to monitor your pest population. Simply mix 3 tbsp of liquid dish soap in a gallon of water and douse the infected area on your lawn. Any subsurface insects will float to the surface where you can identify them.
A few sod webworms in one square foot is acceptable, but if there are more than a dozen, it’s likely an infestation. Once you’re certain that you have a sod webworm infestation, you have several options to treat it. Control applications may be most effective when used while the worms are still small (under ¼ inches long). Your local lawn care professionals will be able to sweep away a sod webworm infestation quickly and efficiently.
Don’t Let Sod Webworm Make A Meal Out Of Your Lawn
Want to protect your lawn from webworm infestations this fall? We’re ready to help keep your grass guarded against any pests that come your way! Shoot us a message at email@example.com or call us at (413) 998-7829 (MA) or (401) 475-9884 (RI) to learn about our top-of-the-line lawn care pest prevention methods.