Sod webworms larvae feed off of warm season sod turfgrass though out the Southeast and particularly on newly established turfgrass and sod installations. The female moth will lay 10-35 tiny overlapping oval eggs on the upper part of a blade of grass. In 3-4 days the eggs hatch and mature from pre-pupal to pupal through six phases in 21-47 days.
The Sod webworm larvae are underneath the blades usually hiding inside the grass thatch. Once they mature to moth stage the insect can be visible in the sod. Walking through and disturbing them will cause them to fly up momentarily in groups then settle back to the ground. By now the damage is done but this signals they are present and treatment of your grass should begin immediately.
In the North Florida Region sod webworms are present all year around but activity is slightly elevated March through May and activity is highest August through November. Sod grass areas that are protected by shade are also more susceptible to insect activity do to the nocturnal nature of the insect.
All warm season grasses including centipede grass, Bermuda grass, bahia grass, st. augustine grass and zoysia grass are susceptible to sod webworms and damage caused during the larvae stage can be extensive leaving large patches of yellow and brown sod.
Keeping the sod turfgrass irrigated as much as possible will help keep the infestation to a minimum. The rove beetle is also a natural predator of the tropical sod webworms and does not destroy other vegetation. The chemical compounds Chloronicotinyl and diacylhydrazine are also effective in keeping control of the sod webworm population. Active ingredients can be purchased over the counter or contact your local Pest Service to initiate a lawn care program to keep you lawn healthy all year round. You can also Read our article on 5 Ways to Kill Sod Webworms for ways you can improve the health of your sod grass.
Sod Webworm damage happens over several weeks before your notice the flying moths. Sometimes you can be left with thin, weedy and dead patches of sod. Jacksonville Sod Service is a reliable and dedicated Jacksonville sod company who can give you a free estimate to determine the problems plaguing your lawn. Our staff will be happy to help discuss your sod grass needs and give you a competitive sod price for new sod installation.