There are many insects that are native to Florida lawns. One of the most damaging to new lawns is the Sod Webworm. Sod Webworm damage becomes visible from June through August. Here is some information about the insect and some tips on how to determine if a lawn has an infestation.
1. Look for moths when you walk through the lawn. If you walk on the grass and see little white moths flying up, that is a sure sign that there are sod webworms in the lawn. The moths are there laying the eggs. Newly hatched caterpillars cause very little damage to grass. It is not until they are almost fully grown that their feeding becomes noticeable, and then it appears to show up overnight.
2. Injured grass has notches chewed along the sides of the blades, which are also eaten back unevenly. The foliage may be almost completely stripped off in patches, and these areas soon become yellowish to brownish.
3. Sod webworms feed primarily at night and remain in a curled position on or near the soil surface during the day. A flashlight used at night will reveal the caterpilars feeding in the grass foliage.
4. Inspect the lawn weekly during the summer determine if damage is beginning to occur and if these insects are the problem.
5. An effective way to survey for sob webworms is by using the Soap Flush technique. Mix 1.5 fluid ounces of dishwashing detergent in 2 gallons of water. Drench 4 square feet with this solution. Observe the area for about 2 minutes. If pests are present, they will emerge to the grass surface and can then be detected. If no insects are found in the first area checked, examine at least three or four other places in the suspected areas.
If you believe you may have sod webworms in your lawn, we recommend using a professional landscape contractor who is licensed to spray for insects to treat your lawn. Give us a call at any local Woerner Landscape Source and we can give you recommendations on professional landscape services in your area.