Sod webworm turning out to be peskier than usual

  • Monday, October 1, 2012

Every once in while there is a pest that totally dominates the landscape. This pest could be a fungus, a weed, an insect or something else. The pest is usually something we have faced before; however, for whatever the reason, one year it is more persistent than usual. Last year it was the nasty rascal the chinch bug. This year it is the sod webworm.
Sod webworms are usually very easy to control if identified correctly. This year control has not been as easy. Some people confuse the damage with fungus because they attack in the fall when fungus is usually an issue. Sod webworms chew on leaf blades, so if you look closely, you will see bite marks on the grass blades.
If you do not like to bend over, walk around your yard at dusk.
Moths flying out of your grass or even your landscape plantings are signs that trouble is soon to follow. Sod webworm moths really seem to like Liriope (monkey grass) and Asiatic Jasmine.
I’m seeing more moths than ever. The moths lay the eggs and about 10 days later the hungry little worm begins to chow on your grass.
In the recent past (I’m not writing about 20 years ago when you put down a product and you controlled insects for six months), usually one application of a control product would do the trick.
You would apply the product and the product would kill the worms that were chowing. When new eggs hatched there was enough residual to kill any new worms. As hopefully you have not seen, this year the same products that worked wonderfully in the past with only one application are taking three and four retreatments with no end in sight.
Please be kind to your lawn care professional. If he or she is from the local area, he or she has never dealt with the amount pressure we are getting from this pest this year.
This year is the first time I have seen that you treat a yard and some areas get better, but new areas of damage show up.
You treat again and in some areas you seem to have control; however, more damage shows up in another area of the yard… And the moths are in huge numbers - still laying eggs. When treating for sod webworms, always treat the whole yard.
Well, I have to run to Possum’s and get another product. Darn sod webworms.
Always read, understand and follow product label. The product label is a Federal Law.
(Bill Lamson-Scribner can be reached during the week at Possum’s Landscape and Pest Control Supply. Possum’s has three locations 481 Long Point Rd in Mount Pleasant (971-9601), 3325 Business Circle in North Charleston (760-2600), or 606 Dupont Rd, in Charleston (766-1511). Bring your questions to a Possum’s location, or visit us at PossumSupply.com. You can also call in your questions to “The Garden Clinic”, Saturdays from noon to 1 p.m., on 1250 WTMA -The Big Talker. The Horticulture Hotline is available 24 / 7 at possumsupply.com.)

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