common name: Sod Webworm
scientific name: Order Lepidoptera, family Pyralidae
size: Larva--1/4" to 3/4"
identification: Sod webworms are the larval form of lawn moths, which are small and range from white to gray in color. They are spotted and coarse-haired. The adults hold their wings close together at rest, are pale brown, and have a projection from the front of the head. Larvae are spotted and coarsely haired.
biology and life cycle: Adults fly around and drop eggs into the turf. Larvae are light brown caterpillars with several rows of dark spots. They live on the soil surface in silken tunnels built in the thatch. They chew grass into closely cropped spots.
habitat: Unhealthy turf.
feeding habits: Feed at night on grass during the heat of summer; they like hot, dry turf. Shady areas are seldom invaded.
economic importance: Lawn damage.
natural control: Birds. Keep turf watered and healthy, mulch with compost.
organic control: Bacillus thuringiensis spray.
insight: More a problem on golf courses than on lawns. Blackbirds, robins, and other birds pecking holes in the turf is a sure sign of these pests.