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Cigarette paper webworms 2023

June 14, 2023

Here is a very rare problem in lawns.  My last blog on it was June 19, 2017 (https://www.extension.iastate.edu/turfgrass/search/content/cigarett%20paper).  This sighting is from Debbie Wynkoop in Elysian, MN.

The problem is caused by an insect called the Burrowing Webworm.  It is in the genus Acrolophus.  Other common names include Cigarette paper webworm or tube moth.  There are reportedly 65 species within the genus.  Like the more common Sod Webworm, the larvae live in a web-lined burrow just under the surface of the lawn.  In the case of the Burrowing webworm, birds feeding on the larvae pull out the webbing, consume the larvae and leave the cigarette paper-like webbing on the surface.  It is not usual to see hundreds of these on the lawn after birds have been there.  They disappear very quickly with moisture and the larvae are generally not seen because the birds ate them. 

While the larvae can feed on turf, they rarely do any serious damage to lawns.  Most common insecticides for surface feeders will kill them.  However, most of them are generally gone because of bird feeding when the paper-like burrow is observed and insecticides would not be recommended. 

 

Here are the pictures from Minnesota:

 

 

 

 

 

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