Question: White moths on my lawn?

By | 18/11/2019
A white moth on a leaf.

In November 2019 I received this question via my Ask a Question page. Barry asks about seeing lots of small white moths on his lawn.

He writes:

Hi Kris,

During the summer when cutting my lawn I noticed quite a few small white moths that appear to have settled in the grass. Do they cause damage to the grass?

I haven’t noticed any real difference just a little more thatch which I attributed to the long dry summer in this area.

Is there any treatment I should consider?

Many thanks

Barry, via Ask a Question

Hi Barry,

Thanks for the question!

I too have noticed these white moths on many of my lawns during the late summer months. They often fly up when giving the grass its early autumn feed.

In the UK these moths are most likely Grass Moths (Crambus pascuella). Also commonly called the Inlaid Grass-veneer. These are small moths, about 20mm long which live on meadow grass and other wild grass areas. They obviously like some long- mown lawns too.

Sod webworms? – Not in the UK!

Although these grass moths found in the UK and Europe are related to the more destructive cousins in the US, They should not be confused with them. Many Internet sources will talk about “sod webworms” and controls, these terms are not relevant to UK lawns. Although the white moths are related, (they’re both in the Crambidae family), the species’ which cause sod webworms (e.g. Parapediasia teterrellus) are not found in Britain.

Controls for white moths on a lawn?

In the UK, grass moths do not cause any noticeable damage to lawns. I do not recommend trying to control them. They are just the fascinating part of the biodiversity of your garden.

If you have white moths on your lawn, just enjoy them and allow them to just go about their business. They do no harm. Like mining bees, they are an interesting visitor to your garden and only add to its diversity.

Thanks for your question!

Kris Lord

Read more about grass moths:

Main image by Ian Lindsay from Pixabay

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