Sod webworms can take over your lawn when they turn from larva to pupa and then to the adult stage.
During the whole process, female sod webworms lay hundreds of eggs on the living where they hatch into caterpillars. Sod webworms will often infest your lawn from the south or southwest.
Since they feed at night, they need some warmth. So, eliminate any sources of shade that may block the sun’s rays.
Remove all weeds, and mow the lawn on a regular basis.Yet another pest that might become a big problem in your garden if left unchecked is the flea beetle.
The adult beetles are those that you see flying around your garden, and while the larvae live in the soil, they also cause damage by eating the roots of your plants.
What are sod webworms?
- 1 What are sod webworms?
- 2 How to Identify Sod webworm Infestation
- 3 Life cycle
- 4 Where are Sod webworms found?
- 5 Are webworms harmful?
- 6 How to Get Rid of Sod Webworms naturally
- 7 How to Prevent Sod Webworm Larvae
The larvae of the sod webworm, known commonly as the white grub, have special teeth that allow them to eat grass like most other lawn insects.
These teeth are not strong enough to penetrate the thick layer of thatch, which is where the webworm larvae live.
The larvae will continue chewing through the thatch until April or May, when the third generation emerges.
After they turn pink and begin to molt, they will head to a protected area, usually under the turf. Sod webworms are a nuisance in lawns and lawns bordering lawns.
Since they may produce numerous generations in one season, it can be very difficult to control their populations.
Sod webworm larvae overwinter in plant debris and grasses, but typically leave their cocoons when temperatures begin to rise in the spring.
Sod webworm larvae can survive in cool or freezing conditions, but they are killed when temperatures drop below 34 degrees Fahrenheit.
It is expected that the first generation of webworms will feed on turf leading to stunted growth and discoloration.
In the months of August and September, a third generation will appear and lay eggs for the final generation in October or November.
These eggs hatch in the spring and larvae begin feeding on grass, which means more damage to the lawn.
How to Identify Sod webworm Infestation
Sod webworms are most active during warm, sunny days.
As a result, these pests have a bad rep and are often dismissed.
Adult sod webworms feed primarily on turf, and less often on ornamental plants. The adult sod webworm is hard to see.
Its body is tan to brown, with red eyespots on its head and upper abdomen. Its body is slender.
Mature sod webworms are about 1/2 to 3/4 inches in length. Also, an adult is widely recognizable by its long, slender abdomen and pair of distinctive horns on the pronotum that can be readily identified.
Sod webworms feed on the roots and rhizomes of certain grasses, including St. Augustinegrass.
They can cause serious damage to turf by feeding on and destroying it.
The damage inflicted by these caterpillars is also evident by the patches of bare soil (so called ‘soil-voids’) and browning of the grass where the infestation is severe.
Buff-colored (tan) caterpillars moving over the dirt, thatch, or other turf, usually in flocks.
The larvae make small holes in the surface of the turf or landscape material. Four to twelve in each hole.
The feeding area of the larvae covers one-quarter to one-third of the hole.
Grass, shrubs, and plants can become extremely damaged from sod webworm infestation.
Young sod webworms burrow into turf in search of food. Adult sod webworms lay eggs on the turf and then crawl up the stalk of grass, where they eat the tissue of the plant.
Treating an infestation of sod webworms can be difficult since these small pests are resistant to many insecticides and pesticides.
Instead, homeowners are advised to discourage the appearance of the sod webworm by regular mowing and removing plant debris and matted leaves.
Sod webworms are also known to burrow into the grass. They feed on the roots, causing the plant to wilt and die.
Sod webworms may also cause damage to your turf via their toxins.
Adult sod webworms flying zigzaggingly, mostly at night, in search of more food. The greenish-white egg masses that land on the lawn or nearby plant beds are often mistaken as bird droppings.
Eggs are small, but deposit a considerable amount of chemicals into the soil as they lay them.
Their hues vary and use bright patterns, making them highly visible to predators.
They range in color from red to yellow and brown. Some ladybugs are predators while others are parasites.
These are difficult to see with the human eye, and they come out at night.
Depending on local conditions like as temperature, the hatchling may emerge anywhere from one to four weeks after laying.
Before they hatch, certain insects, such as sod webworms, eat the eggs.
When ready to hatch, some of the eggs will float to the top of the water, while others remain at the bottom.
Some nymphs will stay in the same place until they reach adulthood, while others may move from place to place.
When left unchecked, many pests’ larvae can cause significant damage to your garden and crops.
You should avoid unnecessary swatting of the caterpillars because a little is okay, especially because you can release beneficial insects from the cocoons.
It seems as though they feed on anything green, but it isn’t true. They tend to prefer grasses.
Grass is both their source of nourishment and their host. The adults are rarely seen in spring and summer. They prefer to feed on yellow clover, sweet lupines, or plantains.
They undergo many molts, which explains why they are so numerous in lawns and gardens. Some leave the soil completely, while others remain buried.
It’s the larvae that people refer as sod webworms.
There is a possibility that they can cause plant disease if not controlled.
The larvae will cocoon themselves with the silk produced by their bodies.
The cocoon serves as a protection against the wind, the rain, and the cold. When the larvae are ready to hatch, the cocoon will burst, and the adult will leap out of the remnants.
There are a variety of cocoon colors, including yellow, brown, gray, gray/black, and white.
They look like flaky pieces of eggshell. The cocoon is light, soft, and flexible, and the worms are protected inside.
The cocoon can be found hanging from a tree branch or from a low hanging vine.
It evolves as the baby worms grow and mature.
They measure around 0.3 inch long by 0.1 inch broad. They have long, sharp spines, which are advantageous since they help the worms burrow through soil to find food. The pupa is light brown, measuring around 0.3 inch long by 0.1 inch broad.
They are rendered immobile by ingesting a toxic protein found in other foods before the cocoon is spun. The cocoon is spun by the larvae to complete the life cycle.
The worms are also protected inside the cocoon from the activity of predators.
When a pupa emerges, it is black, but it turns white within three days.
The adult moth’s wings are orange or brown. The female moth lays her eggs on grass or plant leaves.
The adults will feed on the foliage, and eventually the larvae hatch and burrow into the plant. The adults only live for several weeks in the summer, and they are quite eager to mate and lay eggs.
These are the butterflies and moths that make people happy during spring.
Many species of adult webworms lay eggs in damp soil or where there has been flooding. The eggs hatch and the young worms begin to grow in moist, soft soil.
They will then emerge from the soil in search of food. Adult webworms are quite large and very high in fat.
They prefer to live where there is plenty of food, such as in pastures. They can be found feeding on grass, leaves, nuts, and grains.
They live for 2 to 3 years. The females lay eggs in the soil.
The eggs hatch into larvae, and these eat the roots, bark, and shoots of grasses and other plants. When the larvae become adults, they return to the soil to lay their own eggs, and the cycle continues.
They mate, and the female deposits her eggs on the ground.
The eggs hatch and the larvae eat the roots underground. They stop when the soil is warm enough, and then they burrow into the ground and form a cocoon.
In this cocoon, they pupate. When they emerge as adults, they have formed their own cocoons.
These cocoons are called chrysalises. Adult sods sometimes lay their own eggs, so each season you will have new generations of lawnhoppers.
Where are Sod webworms found?
They may be found in woodlands, forests, and fields with moist soil.
Because of the climate, certain states in the United States have more worms than others.
States in the southern part of the United States such as Florida, New Mexico, and Texas are where the majority of people in the United States find these worms in their yards.
Heat and dehydration cause webworms to become dormant.
When these conditions are present, they will pupate and become adults. Webworms are often confused with bed bugs and carpet beetles, but the latter do not feed on fabrics and warp wood.
Are webworms harmful?
No known vectors are connected with webworms. However, they can harm your lawn when overfertilized.
Neither people nor turf are immune to their damage, and this pest can cause noticeable declines or wilting.
Sadly, this is not an uncommon problem.
Your grass may become uneven or patchy as webworm larvae eat away at the stems and the leaves.
The worms themselves are typically tan or brown and irregularly shaped. Their appearance bears little resemblance to that of the worms that feed on your compost, though.
Webworms are voracious eaters, and they’ll wreak considerable havoc on your lawn. When they’re finally caught, they can be difficult to remove.
How to Get Rid of Sod Webworms naturally
There are a slew of methods you can use to get rid of grass webworms.
First, you can try using predatory mites. These mites feed on the larvae and eggs of the webworms, killing them from the inside out.
You can find predatory mites for sale online. You can also buy insecticidal soap, which kills webworms by choking them.
When it comes to getting rid of lawn webworms organically, you have a variety of options.
They can be repelled with common household products, such as vinegar, citrus oil, peppermint oil, and spinosad. Also, outdoor sprays or spray traps can help. For these methods, baits such as molasses or peanut butter are good options.
Some methods are passive and work well if you wait for the pests to come to you.
Others are proactive and require that you go out and actively search for the pests. For example, you can try to bait the pests by tapping a jug of vinegar over your lawn.
Grass webworms usually congregate around plants in the spring. They seek sunlight and move around looking for food.
Avoid disturbing their natural habitat, however, because you’ll only cause them to become more aggressive.
To expedite the process of finding the solution that works, try more than one remedy at a time.
It’s inefficient to just throw out bad ideas because you didn’t offer enough data. If you attempt multiple treatments, you may be able to observe which one works and which doesn’t.
High levels of humidity and wetness are beneficial to the sod.
However, if you overdo it, your lawn becomes too wet and you end up with sod webworms. This extra humidity nurtures the bugs and causes them to multiply.
To get rid of them, you need to limit your watering. To do this, install rain sensors to automatically shut down your sprinklers when it rains.
This small change will help your grass become dryer, which will decrease the number of webworms.
Watering your grass and feeding the pests encourages more bugs to live in your yard.
The solution is to lower humidity or introduce shade, which will control the bugs. Make sure to turn on your sprinklers when you have lots of friends and family over.
This ensures that bugs don’t become a problem for everyone at the same time.
Instead of using a garden hose, invest in a sprinkler timer. And be sure to water the garden in the morning so the plants can dry off faster.
Use pyrethrin-based sprays
Sod webworms are reported to damage fields by chewing through the roots of plants.
The webworms may also carry diseases that are harmful to humans, including bacteria, fungi, and viruses.
Insecticides that include this chemical are frequently used in organic farms.
Make sure it’s on an even surface and spray it evenly. Don’t spray into cracks.
Pyrethrin, when administered correctly, may wipe out large populations of webworms.
When you have a choice, use the least toxic product available.
Use according to label instructions.
It’s also a good preventative measure to take if large populations of these pests have invaded your garden.
The webworms may be sprayed on to a piece of cardboard or paper, and then placed outdoors near plants that will attract birds.
If this is the case,10-20 minutes should do the trick.
If they eat it, they will suffer vomiting, diarrhea, and convulsions.
The information on this is scant, but you should try it out and see how it affects your worms.
The nematode Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) is used widely in organic pest control for insects.
It kills insects on contact by ingestion.
These nematodes are microscopic in size, and they feed on bacterial cells that contain Bt, which releases the microcrystal toxins into their body.
There are several ways to enhance its efficiency, including spraying it with a mixture of water, sugar, and Bt for 24 hours.
This approach is known as “bagging” and is very effective, but it must be done in the spring and summer months.
In May or June, you may apply nematodes to kill grubs in your soil.
Because of its concentrated nature, it will kill a pest’s eggs and larvae, while grazing animals such as goats and sheep will eat the larvae without harm.
The nematodes are harmless to these animals.
Bacillus thuringiensis is called an organic pesticide because it is derived from a bacteria. The bacteria is easily applied to crops to kill insects, such as caterpillars and grubs.
Bt is often advocated as the first line of remedies in an internet forum where someone wants to get rid of their sod webworms.
It’s believed that predators from the food chain are helping to control the population of grubs.
Spray essential oils
Moths may be deterred from feeding on your grass for up to four weeks.
The trick is to locate one that can be sprayed on your grass without causing damage.
So you’ll want to try it out on a small area first to see how it affects the grass. If everything looks excellent after three days, you may start applying it in a grid pattern to portions of your lawn.
So you’ll need to try it out on a small area first to see how it affects the grass. If everything looks excellent after three days, you may start applying it in a grid pattern to portions of your lawn.
As soon as three days have passed and everything looks good, you may fertilize your grass.
Diluting essential oils with tap water, such as in a spray bottle, will work, too. You may need to let the grass dry before you proceed with the spraying process.
Diluting it into the watering can and spraying it that way may also work.
Trap the adult moths
You may target the adults when they emerge from their cocoons in the spring, or wait until they lay their eggs in late summer/early autumn and destroy the larvae before they hatch.
You may purchase moth traps that lure in female moths as well.
They fly in and become trapped on the sticky surface, unable to escape.
Although killing adult male moths does not have any effect on queen moths, it will reduce the number of eggs the queen moth lays.
The traps may be staked in rows that are 15 to 20 inches apart. Place the traps within a 25-foot radius of plants that are infested with the larvae.
Plant moth-repelling plants
Plants that naturally repel moths include garlic, geraniums, lemongrass, parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme.
These may be used as a barrier around the garden to keep pests such as moths, mosquitoes, and birds away.
Plants that repel moths can be planted along the entire perimeter of your property. This natural barrier can be planted either individually, or in rows.
Get to know your USDA hardiness zone so you can plant the plants that don’t grow in your area. Use organic mulch to trap the pheromones that moths are attracted to. Place a mat of rocks on the ground to create a barrier for the moths.
Keep your lawn tidy
Preventing pests by keeping your lawn tidy is easier than getting rid of them.
Simply mow your lawn regularly, keep weeds from taking over your garden, and make sure there’s no old food rotting on the ground.
Cleanliness not only deters sod webworms, but it also prevents other pests from feeding on them. Reseeding your grass or planting other types of flowering plants in your backyard can also help deter these pests.
Maintaining a tidy garden may help prevent pests from taking over your home.
One way to do this is by removing all things that will attract pests. For example, don’t store food in your garage or backyard.
Mow your lawn regularly and add fertilizer to it. If you have kids or pets, make sure you keep them away from your flowerbeds and yards.
Lastly, keep pests away from your home by making sure your doors and windows are properly closed and secured.
How to Prevent Sod Webworm Larvae
Sod webworm management requires a four-pronged approach: chemical, biological, cultural, and physical control methods.
Remove any enticing elements from the garden:
- It is important to ensure that certain attractive garden elements are eliminated. This will help to keep the larvae from laying eggs in your sod and will also help to kill off the eggs when they are laid.
- Predators like birds may help control this pest, but their populations are not abundant enough to do so effectively.
- You may also buy predatory nematodes online and take them directly to the damaged areas.
- Use a garden hose to provide soapy irrigation for the affected sections. This will prevent the workers from getting too worked up.
- At dark, treat the lawn’s damaged areas with fipronil or imidacloprid in 2-ounce portions.