Pests do not just prove a nuisance inside your home. Sometimes, pests can be an issue outdoors, and even on your lawn. One of the primary pests to watch out for in many areas is the sod webworm. This pest is not a true worm. It's actually the larval stage of a species of brown moth. Sod webworm infestations can wreak havoc on your grass, but if you know how to recognize them, you can treat them and prevent larger issues.
How to Recognize a Sod Webworm Infestation
The first sign of sod webworms is usually browning grass. The grass turns brown because the larvae are eating its roots. Once the roots of the grass are gone, then the grass can no longer take up the water and nutrients that the rest of the grass plant needs to survive.
Of course, sod webworms are not the only cause of brown lawns. Browning can also be caused by a lack of water, or by over-fertilization. So, to tell whether the worms are at fault for your browning, you need to do one more thing. Take a little shovel, shove it into the soil, and lift it up. You need to see a few inches of soil. If you see lots of little, brown, and yellow larvae wriggling around, along with what looks like spider webs, you have sod webworms.
Treating a Sod Webworm Infestation
The earlier you treat an infestation, the better. Start with insecticides. Most general-purpose insecticides will kill the worms. Scatter an insecticide powder or pellet over your entire lawn. Then, water the lawn lightly to drive the insecticide into the soil. The best time to do this is at night when the worms are most active.
After using the insecticide, wait a couple of weeks. The larvae should die off within this time. Then, retreat to the lawn for good measure, just in case some larvae survived the first time around.
A couple of weeks after the second insecticide application, you can pull up any dead grass, put down some fresh soil, and seed the areas that are now bare. The grass should re-grow healthy and strong.
Sod webworms can be quite a nuisance, but they're rather easy to eradicate with insecticides. If you run into trouble, call a lawn care or pest control company. They should have the skills and solutions needed to eradicate even the largest sod webworm populations.