Sod Cutworm – Identification
Q: I found a lot of these brown things among the dead grass in my new sod. What is it?
A: Your sod is infested with cutworms. I hate to say it but the sod probably had cutworm moth eggs on it when it was sold to your installer. They were not controlled properly at the sod farm. The installer would probably not have noticed the eggs. They hatched a couple of weeks ago, the caterpillars fed on your grass for several days and they then pupated.
The brown things are cutworm pupae.
The caterpillars emerge from the soil at night and chew the lower stems of turfgrass.
The best way to control them is to use a turf insecticide late in the evening. Good insecticides include trichlorfon (Bayer Advanced Grub Control), carbaryl (Sevin), Bacillus thuringiensis (Dipel WP) plus various pyrethroids: bifenthrin, cyfluthrin , cypermethrin, deltamethrin , lambda-cyhalothin , permethrin and tralomethrin.