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Sod Webworm


 

There are numerous varieties of sod webworms as well as lawn moths that frequently infest home lawns. They range from silver striped sod to bluegrass sod webworms. Over the last few years a handful of other sod webworms have been discovered in domestic lawns. With these sod webworms becoming more common, so is the major damage that they can cause to residential turf, excruciatingly so in a period of drought that is so damaging to landscaping.


Sod webworms make it through winter weather as mature larvae, and are insulated by their silken tunnels. The larvae resume their processes of feeding in spring, then pupate from May to June. This process takes two weeks and then the adult moths emerge, and take refuge in the grass and whatever brush or shrubbery is around them. Eventually the female moth will lay eggs, up to two hundred of them, and these will hatch into more young larvae another week or two after they are laid. This cycle is not necessarily annual, and can occur more than once a year, making these webworms quick breeders.


These lawn grubs can cause considerable harm to your yard as larvae. You will see large brown patches come up in the lawn, about the size of baseballs. The brown patches are often pierced with pencil sized holes which is because of the birds attempting to chase their prey down in the dirt. Throughout the summer is when most damage from the larvae will be observed. The larvae will chew leaves and stems and essentially feed of your lawn and lead to bigger brown patches in your turf. It will often appear as if there is a drought when there is not, which also gives the larvae a bit of camouflage when drought is actually present in the area.


So due to the large numbers in which the spawn, and the damage that they can cause to the aesthetic look of your lawn, you will want to take measures to combat these nuisances. A non-chemical route to take is reseeding your lawn with endophyte-enhanced turf grass seed. In most instances these seeds are employed the endophytes produce alkaloids which are resistant to insects and various diseases. Make sure to use caution when using these seeds as they can harm the local live stock, make sure that all directions on the label are followed, and you may want to do some research on how to apply these safely.


Parasitic nematodes are another friendly way of taking care of the webworms; however it is important to keep in mind that the nematodes are also living insects and require care when handling and proper irrigation. They are a more fragile treatment to eradicate the webworms, and most be applied delicately.

 


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