Sod Webworm

Sod Webworm in North Florida Lawns  




The most damaging of the lawn grass caterpillars is the tropical sod webworm. The larve are greenish with yellow black spots. The adults are dingy brown moths with a wingspan of about ¾ of an inch.  

Damage from Sod Webworms: 

Larvae of the tropical sod webworm hatch and begin feeding on grass blades causing damage within a few weeks. They continue to damage sod for about the next week and a half until they begin to pupate. Sod webworms are usually not present in significant enough numbers to damage sod until August in the North Florida area. 

Feeding Habits of Sod Webworms: 

Sod webworms primarily feed at night and lay inactive near the soils surface during the day.

Reproductin and Life Cycle of Sod Webworms in Jacksonville | St. Augustine | North Florida Areas:

There are several  generations of sod webworm each year. They go from hatching to adult in a  matter of 5 or 6 weeks.

Control of Sod Webworms in North Florida Lawns:

            Natural Control: 

Predacious earwig, several spiders, ground beetles and parasitic wasps all help to keep populations of sod webworm in check.  

Cultural Control: 

Check for insect populations using a flashlight at night or the can flush method. 

Studies throughout Florida have shown significant decrease in this particular pest problem by maintaining proper cultural procedures. See reducing the need for chemical control.  

Chemical Control: 

When no beneficial insects are found and lawn caterpillars reach more than 10 per square foot then chemical control may be necessary. Thuricide, Diazanon, Sevin or Dursban may be used in accordance with package label directions for sod webworm treatment.

A Word of Caution with Chemicals from Me to You:

     Perhaps it is my many years of dealing with the people in the Agriculture industry who have lived long lives and encountered many troubles with chemicals during their careers, but I cannot talk about chemical control without at least my mentioning the following concerns. 

 Make sure to read all directions carefully and apply liquid sprays diluted with water at the application rate recommended on the product label for the pest you are targeting and do not mix stronger than suggested target treatment rates. 

      Remember that insecticides are POISONS and approach their use with caution, wear protective eye gear and chemical resistant gloves and rubber boots as well as long sleeved shirts and pants. Remember to wash these items separately from other laundry immediately after application and shower after getting the clothes into the laundry. 

Lastly but most importantly, pay particular attention to lock unused chemicals up away from visiting children and pets.  

So that’s it on the speech about chemicals, I hope I have been able to help you know what’s wrong and how to treat it so now you have to help me sleep easier by indulging me with these motherly concerns, fair trade don’t you think?  I’ll sleep easier knowing that you did.