Gross wormy things in the lawn

Asked March 30, 2017, 3:43 PM EDT

I am dying due to the, literally hundreds if not thousands, of inch long dark colored worm looking things. The lawn is turning brown. When it rains, there are a bunch of these gross things on the sidewalk and driveway. My husband sprayed some kind of killer on the lawn, front and back, then there were thousands (literally) on the sidewalk, mostly dead but still gross. I can't stand it! Any thoughts? I will die without help lol

Lane County Oregon worms

3 Responses

Greetings! Is it safe to assume gummy worms aren’t your favorite candy? :) The worm looking things in your lawn are the larvae (juvenile form) of the European Crane Fly (ECF). There can be up to about 25 of these critters per square foot without causing damage, but the fact that you are seeing damage means an insecticide is necessary to prevent further damage. It sounds like your husband already took care of that. If you can tell me what product he applied, I can tell you if it was labeled to control ECF and can be expected to do the job you need it to do. The good news is that pretty much any insecticide labeled for use on lawns will control ECF.

We’ve had a wet winter, but ECFs tend to be most problematic on poorly drained soils. If that characterizes your lawn, then you can probably expect to encounter these pests again at some point in future years (although not necessarily every year). Since ECF is a semi-aquatic insect, a good way to manage ECF without the use of pesticides is to stop irrigating by Labor Day. That will allow the soil to dry out just enough that ECF larvae will suffer a high mortality rate before they ever have a chance to damage your lawn.

I hope this is helpful. Good luck!

He is using Ortho Bug Be Gone but they are not gone fast enough. They are horrible and gross.

Thank you so much for your fast response!

Connie

Connie,

You're quite welcome, and thanks for the additional info! Ortho Bug-Be-Gon contains bifenthrin as the active ingredient, which is very effective against ECF. Therefore, you shouldn't have to apply any other insecticides to control this pest right now. I do recommend a regular lawn fertilizer be applied as soon as the weather allows (sounds promising the next day or two, and the sun sure is nice right now!). This will help the lawn recover quickly. If there are any large patches of dead/devoured grass, you may need to reseed those areas, but the soil is still too cold and wet to expect seed to germinate just yet.