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Watch for sod webworms in NC

October 2, 2013
by Rick Brandenburg

Sod webworm larva
Sod webworms larva

Recently flights of sod webworms have been very common in both warm and cool season turf. These are the small moths that fly about early in the evening as you walk across the turf. They usually fly a few feet and then land.

They lay eggs which hatch into the webworms that can damage turf. Sod webworms used to be a major pest in turfgrass, but we really haven't seen issues with them for the past 25 years except in very isolated cases. This year I am seeing unusually high numbers of the moths probably a reflection of our strange summer weather. That does not mean we will have problems, it just means be aware of this fact and keep you eyes open for small patches of damaged turf that looks closely cropped, tan, yellow or brown. Often it is an area that has a large number of these small areas.

An information sheet is available on Turffiles turffiles.ncsu.edu/Insects/Default.aspx#IS000043