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Sod Webworms Require Professional Tampa Bay Lawn Care Service

We eliminate lawn moths before they destroy your lawn

Have you ever noticed on a warm evening, a group of pale-brown moths with bodies shaped like triangles with prominent “snouts” flying in a zigzag pattern over the lawn? If you have, your lawn potentially has sod webworms or “lawn moths.”  Adult sod webworms are called lawn moths. They fly with short, erratic flight, darting back-and-forth over your lawn. There are several species of sod webworms infesting lawns in Tampa Bay and throughout Florida including the silver-striped sod webworm (Fissicrambus mutabilis Clemens), the bluegrass Sod Webworm (Parapediasia teterrella (Zinken), the larger sod webworm (Pediasia trisecta (Walker) and the latest to emerge, the burrowing sod webworm (Acrolophus popeanellus (Clemens).  

If your lawn is showing signs of damage and it is not from chinch bugs, grub worms or a fungal disease, the culprit very well might be Florida sod webworms. The insects can be distinguished by their distinct feeding habits and injury symptoms to the lawn. If you see signs of lawn moths, contact Keepers of the Green. We have the knowledge and expertise you need to keep your lawn and landscape healthy and green. For more than 25 years, homeowners throughout Tampa Bay have trusted Keepers of the Green to eliminate pests and the unwanted stress of maintaining a healthy lawn. We take care of everything so you don’t have to!

What are sod webworms?

Sod webworms are caterpillars of small grey or brown moths. Webworms grow to approximately ¾ inch and are covered with fine hairs all over. Moths are approximately ¾ inch and fold their wings close to their bodies when resting. Adult moths rest facing downward on a grass stem and wrap their wings around their abdomen. Sod webworm adults have straw-like mouth to siphon the tasty goodness from your grass, leaving your lawn dead before you know it. Adults have a prominent projection on their head that sticks out, making them easily identifiable. Moths commonly hide in shrubs or other sheltered spots during the day and fly over the grass at dusk or early evening.

Lawn moths take flight over turf grass

The moths are not the issue; it is their offspring that are the culprits. During the day, adult moths hide in shrubbery and in other sheltered areas. After their mating cycle, adult females in flight will drop white eggs into the grass to mature. Females scatter their eggs over lawns while she flies. Female webworms can lay 60-100 eggs per night and the eggs hatch in one week. The larvae can grow up to 1 inch long and are light green to gray green with dark spots on their body.  It can take six to ten weeks for the complete cycle from larvae to adulthood with multi generations produced each year. Females lay eggs in clusters of up to 15 eggs on grass blades, grass stems and turf debris. Tiny caterpillars hatch from the eggs after 6-10 days and develop over the next 6 weeks. Tampa Bay is the perfect climate and environment for sod webworms, as they survive and thrive in areas with very mild winters, like what we have here in Florida.

At night, the caterpillars feed on turf grass, some of their favorites are of course all the varieties we have right here in Florida, including Bermudagrass, St. Augustine grass, Bahia grass. They feed at night on glass blades and during the day they hide in tunnels. Their tunnels are lined with silk they spin while burrowing.

While at first the grass blades look jagged and ragged, eventually, if left untreated, the sod webworms will devour the entire grass blade. As they migrate to find more food, they leave your lawn with huge gaping holes, Unfortunately, it does not take them long to devour an entire lawn. St. Augustine grass can recover from the webworm attack, but it takes longer to recover than other varieties, like Bermudagrass. Sometimes you can see caterpillars crawling on blades of grass.

When do sod webworms feed? How do I know if I have sod webworms?

Sod webworms only feed at night. The lawn care professionals at Keepers of the Green know the tell-tale signs of a sod webworm infestation – damaged glass with blades that are notched on the sides and chewed raggedly. The first signs of a sod webworm problem are irregular brown spots on the lawn. Large areas of grassy lawn can be severely damaged very quickly without treatment. In fact, a heavy sod webworm infestation can destroy a lawn in only a few short days.

Our lawn care experts know that quick treatment is a must to save your lawn. And, treatment applications must be timed for maximum benefit and effect. The best time to treat and apply insecticide is during the early evening, when the caterpillars are out feeding on the surface of your lawn turf. Other lawn professionals may say they know how to treat sod webworms, but Keepers of the Green has only highly-experienced and trained experts, who know when and how to treat all your lawn and landscape pest and disease problems quickly and effectively.

Your lawn is sending out and S.O.S. – Keepers of the Green answers the call

The first signs of sod worm damage are distinct areas of unevenly clipped grass with brown patches the size of baseballs in the lawn. The worse evidence is seen in the hotter, humid months and may be mistaken for drought stressed grass entering summer dormancy. Birds can also be a good indicator of sod webworms. In some instances, you will note pencil-sized holes as a result of birds searching for food. Occasionally the damage caused by these pests is often mistaken for the damage caused by dog urine. To the untrained and inexperienced eye, pet urine is often blamed for what is otherwise a webworm infestation. Sod webworm larvae can cause major damage to residential turf grass, especially during periods of drought which are very common in Tampa Bay.

Methods of effectively controlling sod webworms in Tampa Bay and throughout Florida

The caterpillars only eat the blades of the grass and do not damage the roots, runners or growing points.  There are several ways to effectively improve the quality of your lawn after you have identified Sod Webworms.  Effective methods to identifying the worms are: (1) examine the turf for silken tunnels.  The worms will leave a silky web as they travel through the grass.  You can easily point out the webs in the morning dew. (2) Use a soap solution test by mixing water and soap and pour it in the green grass at the edge of the brown grass.  This will cause the sod worms to get irritated and start to move for easy identification. (3) Tropical sod webworms feed at night, using light traps will assist in the identification.

At Keepers of the Green, our Tampa lawn care experts take quick action against lawn pests including sod webworms

Do you drive past your neighbor’s home and wonder why their lawn always look so good?  Caring for a lawn takes more than just simply watering.  It is important to keep an eye out for brown areas and other signs of damage in your lawn due to mole crickets, sod webworms or other pests.  With proper treatment and care your lawn can recover and look better than ever.  Contact Keepers of the Green today at 813-245-3432 or contact us online for a fast, free estimate and comprehensive lawn analysis. With more than 25 years of experience helping Tampa Bay homes and businesses maintain the greenest, healthiest lawns and landscapes, Keepers of the Green is the Tampa lawn care company you can count on for results. Contact us today!

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