Cinch bugs, brown patch, take-all-patch and snout mouth moths. What do all of these things have in common? They are all blights fighting against the common goal of every homeowner, a green and healthy lawn.
As we have mentioned before 2014 has been very mild in terms of pests, especially when compared to prior years. However, one problem that we have seen crop up in the last few weeks is lawn infestation by sod webworms
What Are Sod WebWorms?
Sod webworms are in the Crambus species of moths native to the United States that cause damage to grasses. The moths produce two generations per year. The life cycle of the moth goes from egg, larva, pupa and adult. The adults have a distinctive snout like palpi for which the label “snout mouth” was given. (( Crambus. Wikipedia.org. Accessed 9-9-2014. ))
Identifying a Sod Webworm Infestation
Damage is caused to the turf when the webworms larvae feed on the turf causing brown patches in the lawn. As the time of the larvae growth coincides with our hottest summer months, July and August, sometimes it is hard to determine whether the brown patches are due to drought or infestation.
Identifying the sod webworm takes some investigation because, like the ubiquitous bed bug, sod webworms are nocturnal. There are several ways to identify the presence of sod webworms.
Frass: Examine the area between the edge of the dead and live grass, parting the blades. Small green pellets are a signal that sod webworms are infesting your lawn. Known as frass, this is the excrement of the larvae.
Holes and Tunnels: Birds can be your best friend in locating sod webworms. When examining the brown patches, check for pencil sized holes in the ground made by birds going after the burrowing webworms. Silken tunnels in the sod are another evidence of their presence. (( Paul Heller. Sod Webworms in Home Lawns. Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences. 1-2007. Accessed 9-9-2014. http://ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheets/sod-webworms-lawns ))
Adult Moths: Sometimes the adult moths can be seen flying over the grass at dusk or when the lawn is mowed. While the moths do fly a distance from the place of infestation, seeing them should be a clue to investigate further.
Flush Them Out: If there is still uncertainty about the presence of sod webworms, force them to the surface of the ground by saturating the area with a mixture of two gallons of water with two tablespoons of liquid dishwashing soap. If present, the larvae will come up to the surface within a few minutes. If you find more than 10 to 15 larvae within a square yard, treatment is definitely needed. (( David J. Shetlar. Sod Webworm Management in Lawns. Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet. Accessed 9-9-2014. http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/2000/2011.html ))
Getting Rid of Sod Webworms
We have several sprays to eliminate sod webworms and other pests. For the best results, bring a piece of your turf with you and we will give you the best recommendation for your specific gardening issue.