Lawn Insect - Tropical Sod Webworm

(Herpetogramma phaeopteralis)

The Tropical Sod Webworm is a transforming lawn insect that undergoes a metamorphosis from a caterpillar-like worm to a moth-like insect. The Tropical Sod Webworm can be found in much of the southeastern United States, typically affecting St. Augustinegrass, bermudagrass, and centipedegrass.

Identifying Tropical Sod Webworm-

As an adult, Tropical Sod Webworm has wings that are held roof-like over the body, resembling the look of a swept-wing jet. They are dingy-brown to straw colored and have several darker, indistinct wavy lines across each wing. The caterpillar-like larvae are a dark, translucent amber color, but appear greenish after they have fed. The head is dark yellowish-brown and the full grown larvae are about ¾” long. Larvae mostly feed at night and lay resting on the soil surface during the day.

Early symptoms of Tropical Sod Webworm damage include ragged edges on the leaves followed by striping of foliage. Damaged areas may join together into large yellowish or brown patches. Well maintained lawns may outgrow the damage, but stressed lawns may not survive. All stages of the Tropical Sod Webworm can usually be found along the edges of the damaged areas of the infested yard.

Tropical Sod Webworms are most active at night and on dark cloudy days. When disturbed, a droplet of liquid appears at the anal opening. This droplet, along with the dorsal anus, is only visible with a 10x lens.

Lawn Insect - Tropical Sod Webworm

Tropical Sod Webworm Life Cycle -

Tropical Sod Webworm has continuous generations throughout the year but the cycle slows when cooler temperatures are present. Populations decline when soil temperatures drop below 60° Fahrenheit.

Tropical Sod Webworm Control -

It's best to kill insects, grubs and other pests before they have a chance to cause damage to your lawn. Scotts LawnService recommends our exclusive Scotts® GrubEx® and Ortho® Max™ Pro insect control products, which will kill a wide variety of lawn damaging pests. Ortho® Max™ Pro eliminates destructive, bothersome insects including the Tropical Sod Webworm, without disturbing the earthworms that are beneficial to your lawn's health.

Scotts LawnService is the trusted industry leader for professional quality lawn care. Our exclusive lawn care products include premium grass seeds and professional-grade fertilizers; our lawn service teams are comprised of highly trained, industry-certified professionals. Contact a representative today for Tropical Sod Webworm control options available in your area and to learn how you can enjoy a lush, thicker lawn that only Scotts LawnService can deliver.