Patricia M. Arledge, Sharpe, Kenneth W.
News Article for August 29, 2016:
I have had reports of large areas in lawns that were turning brown just prior to the flood but I did not get to see them before it flooded. I suspect that those people may have been seeing sod webworm damage. There have been many reports from Alexandria south and from parishes that adjoin us.
Your first clue will be chewed grass blades. You will see where worms have eaten the sides of leaves and eventually will eat the entire plant. They seem to have a preference for carpet grass, then St. Augustine, not as much for centipede or Bermuda grass, but will eat them all.
The worms feed at night and are hard to find during the day. I have dug around in the thatch and found them hiding from the sun and also you can go out at night with a flashlight and find them feeding.
Sod webworms leave a trail of silky webs as they crawl through the grass and those are very evident with dew on them in the early morning.
Sod webworms are emerald green in color with spots along the side of their body. They reach about 1 inch at full maturity. Moths are very active around outside lights at night, they are tannish in color, about half to three-quarters of an inch long and have a snout like projections on their head.
Armyworms are day feeders and have been in pastures all summer and will eat lawns.
Control either caterpillar with insecticides such as Sevin, Bug-B-Gon or pyrethrins.
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture