When it comes to our lawns all the rain we’ve been experiencing here in Northeast Florida has its pros and cons. First the good news, the regular rains have provided relief keeping the oppressive heat from drying out our grass and thus keeping the chinch bugs at bay. The bad news, persistent moist lawns have invited in the tropical sod webworms (Herpetogramma phaeopteralis Guenée)! They arrived early and have been wreaking havoc on our lawns for the last four months! There are several other species of webworms that also cause damage, but the tropical varieties have become a prevalent threat to the Northeast Florida lawns this year. The dingy gray triangular-shaped moths fluttering up from our feet while walking through the sod is the most obvious clue you have a problem requiring your immediate attention. While we cannot prevent them from flying in from neighboring lawns we should be looking and listening for their caterpillar larval stage feasting on the sod at night.
Unlike chinch bugs that eat the entire plant the sod webworms feast only on the sod leaf blades, but unchecked can do tremendous damage leaving behind large brown patches during infestations. Furthermore, don’t make the mistake of thinking winter cold will take care of the problem it may not be cold enough and the health of the untreated sod may be worse come Spring.
Treatments include Bacillus thuringiensis, a beneficial bacterium sold under several brands at Earth Works Garden Center. Homeowners may also choose the parathyroid insecticide bifenthrin either as a liquid or in combination with fertilizers such as Scotts Summerguard Lawn Food with Insect Control
For help addressing your specific lawn and lawn pest control needs to contact me Chad Lakin for a FREE Lawn Maintenance & Lawn Pest Control Quote: 996-0712