Sod webworms are especially dangerous for the bluegrass lawns we see in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City areas. They thrive in thick, healthy lawns and can cause many problems even for people who have the best lawn care program. This is why it’s important to know how to detect sod webworms and repair lawn damage that the cause. An effective pest control treatment program is the best way to prevent and/or repair sod webworm damage. However, if you have never had your lawn treated for pests, you will need to know how to identify a pest problem.
Adult sod webworms are brownish-gray moths that fly in a zigzag pattern over the lawn during the early evening hours. While these moths do not cause any damage to the lawn, they are laying their eggs in the grass during these evening flights. Their eggs hatch into larvae that feed on the turf. Damage is most common in hot and dry areas of the lawn and mostly never seen in shaded areas.
Life Cycle of Sod Webworms
When you start seeing sod webworm damage, you could already have quite a few generations of sod webworms feeding on you lawn. During the winter months, partially grown larvae (worms) live a few inches beneath the soil. Once this first generation has emerged as adult moths they will lay more eggs in the grass. The resulting worms will feed on the grass for several weeks before finally resting and emerging as new moths, which in return lay more eggs and the cycle repeats.
Sod webworms are 1/4″ to 3/4″ long with segmented bodies like caterpillars. They are usually a brownish or dusty green color with several dark posts that have spiny hairs.
Symptoms of Sod Webworm Lawn Damage
If you have a sod webworm problem, damage will first be seen by dead patches in the lawn scattered throughout the healthy grass. Sod webworms cause the most damage in the hot weather months of July and August. By the middle of summer, you may have large areas of dead grass in the lawn. However, these symptoms can also be confused with drought conditions. In order to correctly determine if your lawn suffers from sod webworms you will need to take a close look at the grass. Sod webworms bite of grass blades at the thatch level, just above the dirt. Then they drag the blades of grass into tunnels they’ve built in the thatch. As a result, these areas of the lawn look like they have been scalped or cut very short.
The Surest Way to Identify Sod Webworm Activity
The best way to determine if you lawn damage has been caused by sod webworm is to locate tiny green pellets that they leave behind. This will most likely be found in the healthy grass surrounding the damaged area since sod webworms work outward towards the healthy lawn. If you find these tiny green pellets, the larvae are sure to be nearby.
If you are concerned with lawn damage but are not sure what might be the cause, contact us for a free diagnosis. We offer pest control treatment packages that are effective and beneficial to the health of your lawn. Contact us at 319-310-1553 or by filling out our online contact form.