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In 2013 Sod Webworms Beat Out Chinch Bugs For Jacksonville Lawns


With Jacksonville experiencing so much rain this year, our lawns soaked up an unusual amount of moisture, which was great for sod webworms but bad for chinch bugs. In case you were able to avoid the wrath of sod webworms and are not familiar with them, they are small, about ¾ inch long, light green caterpillars with black spots. They change into small, dingy brown moths. The sod webworms feed primarily at night and remain in a curled position on the soil surface during the day. This makes them difficult to find. Because they eat all night, their damage seems to show up almost overnight. Damaged grass looks chewed along the sides of the grass blades, which are also eaten back. Sometimes sod webworms are able to completely eat patches of turf grass to the roots. But just because we had a wet summer this year, don’t rule out a come back for chinch bugs next spring. Chinch bugs are parasitic insects that feed off of and eventually kill plant life. They are very small and, like sod webworms, work in large numbers. Southern chinch bugs eat mostly St. Augustine grass and Zoysiagrass. During winter, chinch bugs stay in partially protected areas, like thick grass or near the foundations of houses. When spring arrives and the weather warms up (they like warm and dry), females begin to lay their eggs. For the next two or three weeks, each female lays between 15 to 20 eggs in about two weeks, which develop into adults in 30 to 90 days. So regardless of whether we have a wet spring and summer or a dry one, you need to protect your lawn from these and other pests and diseases. You should always remember, “if you’ve got bugs bad, you better call Trad’s.”

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