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Sod Webworms

Sod Webworm Control

Caterpillars have a reputation for being both cute and destructive at the same time. While they often transform into beautiful butterflies and moths, this larval stage causes ugly damage to a wide variety of plants. Sod webworms, also known as turf webworms, a group of about twenty different species, infect turf grass varieties. While they can exist in your yard without you knowing it, when the populations get large, the damage becomes noticeable. These insects can be difficult to find and identify, so knowing more about sod webworms will help you to get rid of them. Read on below the products for more information.

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Demon WP Insecticide
4.50 out of 5 stars (647)
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For crack and crevice and/or spot applications for residual and contact control of many insect pests.

Talstar P (Talstar One)
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Excellent residual insecticide with a broad label: Long residual control over termites and 75 other pests.

Bifen Granules
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Bifen Granular and/or Wisdom granules have the exact same label as the popular Talstar PL Granular. Protect your lawn for three months against a broad range of pests.

Bifen IT
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The exact same label as the popular Talstar One but less expensive.

Tengard SFR Termiticide and Insecticide
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Broad-spectrum insecticide provides excellent control of subterranean termites in pre-and post-construction applications.

Demand G Granules - 25 lb. bag
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An excellent granular insecticide for lawns from the makers of Demand CS.

Orthene 97 Spray Insecticide
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Orthene 97 Spray is a broad spectrum insect control offering no dust, low odor and accurate measuring

Conserve SC
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For control of thrips, lepidopterous larvae, foliage feeding worms, fire ants and other listed pests.

Bonide Insect & Grub Control
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Kills insects above and below surface

Knock Out Ant, Flea & Tick Killer Granules
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Knock Out Ant, Flea & Tick Killer kills insects in lawns and landscapes.

Caravan G Insecticide Fungicide
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First-ever broad-spectrum fungicide / insecticide granular combination of Heritage fungicide and Meridian insecticide. Not just grub control. Not just disease control. Better looking turf.

Bonide Ant, Flea & Tick Killer Granules
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Long lasting and fast acting insect control for lawns and around homes

Cyper WSP
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A Crack and Crevice and/or Spot Treatment for Residual and Contact Control

Bayer Advanced Complete Insect Killer For Soil & Turf - Granules
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Kills the most common lawn pests like ants, fleas, ticks, grubs, and more.

Bonide Eight Flower & Vegetable Soil Insect Granules
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Kills surface and sub-surface insects and grubs; kills fire ants in the garden

Dylox 420 SL Insecticide
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Fast-acting control of surface feeding and soil insects

Knock Out Fire Ant Killer
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Knock Out Fire Ant Killer kills and controls fire ants and many other pests.

Arena 50 WDG Insecticide
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Broad Spectrum Insect Control



Life Cycle and Habits

The adult moths, or lawn moths, as they are often called, are small and dull colored, often gray and brown and form a tube shape when wings are closed. They are commonly called snout moths because of the strange nose-like protrusion. Larvae vary from beige, gray, brown, and green and are covered in coarse hairs and spots. They are very small, only about 3/4” long. Larvae will overwinter in cocoon-like structures, emerging in warm weather to feed on grass. After a while, they will pupate, emerging as adult moths.

Turf Webworm Damage Identification

Damage to grass occurs because the worms clip the grass right above the crown. Healthy grass can usually recover and damage is very hard to notice. Damage usually begins as round brown patches in grass, expanding into very large areas when damage is severe. In drought conditions, damage may be exacerbated because grass cannot recover from feedings, but is harder to identify if grass is dying from drought. Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, fine fescue, and bent grass are particularly susceptible to these insects. Damage is most noticeable during the minimal stage of growing stages in late summer.

Monitoring for Turf Webworms

To check for turf webworms, part the grass of an affected area. You may see tunnels and bright green frass (excrement) in the grass. To draw the worms out of the grass, you can use a dilution of dish soap and water (one tablespoon of soap per gallon of water) over a two-foot area. This will irritate the worms and they will wriggle to the surface. This will help you to determine the severity of your infestation and how aggressive your treatment may need to be.

How to Get Rid of Sod Webworms - Control Measures

  • There are parasitic wasps, flies, and nematodes that attack the insects available for home use. These insects use the worms as a host and they will not survive. 
  • Products made with naturally occurring bacteria and fungi are affective against these pests.
  • These insects are susceptible to turf insecticides, and these are most successful if applied when worms are young. Applying these as late in the day as possible will ensure the worms will come in contact with them, since they are nocturnal. 
  • If you are planting new grass or have to replant, consider planting endophytic grass varieties (certain perennial rye grasses and fescues) because endophytes are bacteria that live in plants and provide them with a level of resistance to these worms.
Info via: Do-it-Yourself Pest Control, University of Massachusetts-Amherst extension, Penn State Entomology, and Utah State University Extension.

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