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sod webworm

Q: My lawn has been looking terrible and my lawn company told me I have sod webworms. What do they look like?

Q:  My lawn has been looking terrible and my lawn company told me I have sod webworms.  I have never seen any worms, what do they look like?

A:  Tropical sod webworm larvae are gray-green, have brown spots on each body segment, and are the smallest of the three lawn grass worms. Mature larvae can be 3/4 to 1 inch in length, and they pupate in the thatch or on the soil surface.

Tropical sod webworm adults are small, tan to gray moths with a wingspan of ¾ to 1 inch. They do not cause damage. Moths hide in shrubs and other sheltered areas during the day and fly low when disturbed. Females lay clusters of 6-15 white eggs on grass blades at night. Eggs darken to brown and hatch within 7 days.Tropical sod webworm is most active from April through November in north Florida. Three to four generations occur in Florida each year. Tropical sod webworm larvae feed on St. Augustinegrass, bermudagrass and zoysiagrass.   

Mow lawn grass at highest height, irrigate properly and apply slow release fertilizers at appropriate times of year.  Several major chemical companies make formations specifically for lawn grass and can be purchased at most garden and nursery centers.  Be sure to follow the directions on the pesticide label for best results.