Sod webworms, like other young members of the animal kingdom, require adequate nutrients to grow large and robust. Lawn moth larvae, or caterpillars, are known as sod webworms. Unfortunately for homeowners, grass, rather than fish-shaped crackers, is their preferred food. But don’t panic; GCS Outdoors got simple solutions for getting rid of and preventing sod webworms in your yard.
- So, what exactly are sod webworms?
Sod webworms are the caterpillar or larval stage of “lawn moths,” as they are generally known. You just need to be concerned with the caterpillar stage: Caterpillars eat your grass blades; however, the moth (adult) stage is harmless to your lawn. These lawn-loving caterpillars come in over 20 species and may be found in most cool- and warm-season grasses across the country.
- How can I know if I’ve been bitten by the sod webworm?
Sod webworm damage often begins as little brown patches on the turf, which can enlarge and consolidate as the eating continues. Patches become uneven in form, thin out, and brown.
- What is the best way to check for sod webworms?
Here are four techniques to determine whether these brown areas are caused by sod webworms:
- Knee-to-knee test
Because sod webworms eat at night, enter the lawn at about dark. Look locate a damaged piece of turf and get down on your hands and knees to examine the brown grass. You can look at:
- There are little worms crawling about.
- Frass (excrement) Eggs with a green hue
- Look at the grass blades as well. On the blade, you’ll notice irregularly shaped bite marks and yellowing or browning where it’s been chewed.
Fun fact: Some kinds of sod webworm caterpillars are transparent, so you can see the green vegetation in their digestive tract if they’ve been eating on your grass.
- The drenching test
If you can’t find them on your hands and knees, use a drench test to bring them to the surface.
- Select a location where webworm damage may be seen.
- Create a one-square-yard space on the grass.
- 1 gallon of water + 1 ounce of dish soap
- Saturate the region with water
- Consider treatment if there are more than fifteen larvae per square yard (healthy lawn) or five larvae per square yard (stressed turf).
- Keep an eye out for moths
This isn’t a method for identifying sod webworms, but it is another technique to see whether they are present in your grass. Adult sod webworms are known as moths. If you walk out into your lawn in the evening and witness moths hovering just above the grass, you have (or will have) webworms feeding on your grass. As they fly around in the early evening or late afternoon, moths drop their eggs into the grass. The eggs will hatch in about a week, and the larvae will begin to eat.
- Be on the lookout for birds
Birds might be in your yard for a variety of reasons, but they can also signal the presence of pests such as sod webworms. Check to see whether sod webworms or another delectable bug is to blame if you observe more birds in your yard, especially if they land in these freshly brown places.