Sod Webworms

Sod Webworm Inspection Guide

How to Inspect for Sod Webworm Damage

  Print Article By DoMyOwn staff


Overview

Know The Signs Of Sod Webworms

Adult female moths can lay up to 200 eggs, and the eggs are laid randomly around your yard. This makes it tough for inspection and treatment because there will be no area more likely or less likely to have a sod webworm population when these insects are present.

However, there are some signs that you can check for to know if you have a sod webworm infestation, including clearly identifiable damage to your lawn, as well as when they're feeding above ground you will be able to see actual live sod webworms in your turf.


Identify Damage 1

Identifying Sod Webworm Damage

After eggs hatch in late spring, the webworms will begin to feed on the grass. This type of lawn pest is always above ground, and they feed on grass blades.
  • When the worms are small, the grass blades are skeletonized, which means the soft leaf tissue is eaten while the veins of the leaf remain.
  • As they continue to get larger, the worms will start to eat whole pieces of the blade, and grass will appear notched.
  • Eventually, whole blades will be clipped off at the crown. The worms take the blades into their silken tubes to eat them.
  • Since the worms cut the grass off at the crown, brown patches will form. At first, they'll be small, but eventually they grow and combine to form even larger patches.

This type of damage can go unnoticed during drought conditions, and also may be confused with dog damage. A good indication of sod webworm damage is that the grass has been clipped, and is not simply dead grass.


Step 2

When To Look For Damage

Sod webworms have two generations per season. The worms that hatch in the spring cause the bulk of the damage from feeding throughout spring and summer. You'll see the worst of the damage in July and August.


Step 3

Soap Flush Test

If you suspect you may have sod webworms but aren't sure, you can test suspicious areas by soaking them in a soapy water solution. Use about 2 tablespoons of detergent in 2 gallons of water and apply to about a square yard of your turf. Let it soak in, and watch for worms to become visible at the top of the grass. If you see more than 10-15, it is a good idea to begin treating your lawn.

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