Lawn Moths/Sod Webworms


By Rick Orr 04/24/2020
A sod webworm curled up in a St Augustine lawn with sod webworm damage
Sod webworm are small green caterpillars that feed on grass leaves during the night and rest near the soil surface during the day

Lawn Moths Do No Damage

In our area, during summer months it is not uncommon to see the little white moths darting about a foot or two above the turf – especially in the shady areas and at night. Theses lawn moths do NO damage to your lawn – yes they are a nuisance but they do no damage to the lawn.

Lawn Moths Cannot be Controlled

The lawn moths are ubiquitous in Pinellas County. They live in ditches, roadsides, vacant lots, and the shady areas of your lawn. And they are very mobile, flying into your lawn from untreated areas. Treated areas of your lawn are quickly repopulated by lawn moths from untreated areas.

Lawn Moths Lay Eggs

The moths are laying eggs that hatch out into tiny caterpillars. These tiny caterpillars, called sod webworms, feed on the grass. According to Wikipedia: The Sod Webworm, ... is distributed practically worldwide, with approximately 100 species recognized in the United States alone. Sod webworms can defoliate an entire lawn (eat all the leaves) in one night.

Sod Webworms Damage but Rarely Kill a St Augustine Lawn

Sod webworms rarely destroy a lawn. Their damage is limited to the removal of leaves. Sod webworm damage often looks like an odd-shaped area was mowed. Once the sod webworms are eliminated, the lawn will quickly recover.

Sod Webworms are Easily Controlled

Since sod webworms are small and voracious feeders living at or near the soil surface, any good insecticide will kill sod webworms. The insecticides I use have an 8 - 12-week residual for sod webworms. You may see the lawn moths in great numbers, but relax their voracious leaf-eaters are dining on toxic turf - bad for Sod Webworms - Safe for Families and pets!

Timing is Everything

In rare cases, even with regular treatments, the sod webworm populations will reach damaging levels. The reason is a timing issue – the egg-laying, hatching and feeding webworm life cycle occurs 24/7 and can defeat even the best preventative methods. I am aware of this issue and currently, we use a blend of insecticides for quick knockdown and residual control. If you should notice a spot in the turf that seems like it has been mowed for you – call me and I will gladly treat interim for free.


Rick Orr Owner-Operator APL Pest Control/Creator of ILOVETURF.COM
APL Pest Control

Rick Orr is the creator of, Owner/Operator of APL Pest Control, and a graduate of VA Tech in Agronomy (Turf Ecology).  

Since 1980, Rick worked in the green industry, mostly with golf courses, resorts, and large communities. Rick worked as a Golf Course Superintendent of Fripp Island Resort, agronomist for Seaside, FL, and the spray tech for Vinoy Golf Course. Rick has been certified as an arborist, landscape and irrigation contractor, and adjunct professor for Environmental Horticulture (SPC) in Pinellas County.  

Home Pest Control came naturally. Entomology (bug science) was part of agronomy studies. Nearly every indoor pest problem starts outdoors. Crossing over to home pest control from lawn spraying was a natural process – the technology, methods, and materials used for home pest control are modifications of the ones used for lawn spraying. 

The result of that work is one of the top-rated pest control companies in Pinellas County – APL Pest Control. APL Pest Control is a family-owned business serving residential and commercial properties in Pinellas County, FL. 

Free Price Quote for Home Pest Control and/or Lawn Care CLICK HERE

To learn more about APL Pest Control CLICK HERE

Speaking Engagements - Does it seem like you are only hearing one side of water restrictions, fertilizer bans, plant restrictions, and many other urban landscape hot topics? Rick Orr is available for speaking engagements for your HOA, Community or Professional Association, or Garden Club about a variety of subjects. To contact Rick you can find him on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Instagram for booking information.