University of Florida

Lawn Caterpillars

Are lawn caterpillars doing your mowing for you? Young caterpillars can injure turf by chewing notches along the edge of the leaves, and mature caterpillars can consume entire patches of grass down to the crown.

Common turf caterpillars include the tropical sod webworm, the fall armyworm, and the striped grass looper.

All of the larvae feed at night, hiding in a curled position near the soil surface during the day. Part the grass in the affected areas to identify the culprit.

Spot treatments with products labeled for lawn caterpillar use may be applied when the damaged area is still small. Be sure to follow all label instructions.

Of course, the best cure is prevention. Keep your lawn properly irrigated and fertilized—these pests prefer wet, overfed lawns.

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