Most sod webworm larvae are less than one inch in length and are characterized by having a series of dark spots down their bodies. Some species have these same spots just lighter in color. The most common lawn-damaging sod webworm in Ohio is the bluegrass sod webworm.
How Can Sod Webworms Ruin Your Lawn?
The larvae of this species feed only in the late fall and early spring when the turf is actively growing. All the sod webworm larvae spend the winter as a partially grown larva buried several inches deep in the soil. At the approach of warm weather in the spring, the larvae move upward towards the surface and begin feeding on the lush spring growth of grass.
The sod webworm caterpillars live in tunnels constructed in turf thatch or the soil under the turf. These tunnels are silk lined, so the webbing causes the soil particles and leaves to stick together. In thicker, greener turf, damage appears as small brown patches about the size of a quarter to three inches in diameter. When most of the larvae are present in mid-summer, the small brown patches run together and form large irregular, thin and brown areas.
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