Tropical Sod Webworms

Active Seasons


Appearance and Size Facts

  • Size: Range from 3/4 to 1 inch long in the caterpillar stage
  • Build protective silken webs, which they then cocoon into underground
  • Feed on the upper root systems, stems, and blades of grass
  • The moths, are erratic and weak flyers and only live a few days
  • The moths are only active at dusk, resting near the ground during the day

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Behavior and Habitat of Tropical Sod Webworms

Sod webworms will feed on the upper root systems, stems, and blades of grass. They build protective silken webs, usually on steep slopes and in sunny areas, where they feed and develop. In early May, they pupate in underground cocoons made of silk, bits of plants, and soil. About two weeks later, adults emerge. Beginning in May, moth flights may occur until October. The moths, erratic and weak flyers, live only a few days and feed solely on dew. They are active at dusk, resting near the ground in the grass during the day.

Adult sod webworms rest in the turf and on shrubbery during the day and randomly scatter their eggs into the grass in the late afternoon and early evening while flying in a zigzag fashion just above the turf surface. The eggs, which are deposited indiscriminately over the grass, hatch in 7 to 10 days. In South Florida, tropical sod webworms may produce new generations very quickly.

Signs of Infestation of Tropical Sod Webworms

Signs of sod webworm injury are patches of yellow or brown grass on the lawn which are most noticeable in sunny areas, while weeds and shady areas of lawn remain green.

Tips for Prevention of Tropical Sod Webworms

Rake up thick thatch and destroy it and try drenching infested patches with a soap solution.

Tropical Sod Webworm Gallery