Your lawn and landscape faces threats on a consistent basis from a variety of places. Some of the most detrimental threats to your lawn can be pests and insects. Many of these critters can come in and kill your lawn, causing death and decay. Chewed up turf, and brown patches can become the standard if these pests are not taken care of. For your protection, we will go over everything you need to know about the most common insects and pests found in our area.
With black bodies and a white triangular pattern on their wings, Chinch Bugs are typically around 1/8 of an inch in length. They will generally be found in hot, sunny, and dry lawns, and can cause an extensive amount of damage very quickly. Signs are large brown patches within your lawn, as Chinch Bugs suck the sap out of your grass blades. Action may be more likely near immovable objects in your lawn such as driveways and walkways. The best ways to prevent Chinch Bugs are all proper lawn maintenance practices, thorough watering, and the addition of shade. Pesticide treatment will be needed if they take hold, but aeration and overseeding will help prevent the spread.
Often referred to as “White Grubs”, these insects are the underdeveloped form of various Scarab Beetles. With a very simple point of attack, these grubs literally eat your grass roots as food. This action is what directly causes your turf to die, and turn brown. After eating your roots, these larvae will turn into beetles, which will also feed on your turf, before laying eggs and furthering the issue. The most obvious signs of an infestation will be when your grass begins to green, and small patches remain brown. There may also be dead patches that can be pulled up, with no root system left. Another sign of problems could be spongy turf, which may appear before browning. If they take hold, a pesticide treatment will be necessary, and prevention is going to be primed by how early you catch the issue.
Fleas and Ticks
As we all know, fleas and ticks can be some of the most bothersome insects to both humans, and our domesticated animals. Fleas are small, wingless insects that are only about an 1/8th of an inch in length. Very small and hard to spot, they feed on warm blooded organisms, and can be found with close inspection. They are very parasitic, and you should avoid them in your landscape. On the other hand, ticks are much more easily identifiable, and can carry a dangerous variety of diseases. Ticks are extremely quick, and able to move around the skin of humans and animals alike. The easiest way to avoid these insects is by covering up, but insecticide treatments can also be done to prevent them in your lawn.
Simply put, these Billbugs are a variety of beetle. They feed on the roots of your turf, and are often found during the summer months, in the hottest areas of your yard. These are the areas nearest concrete, such as your sidewalks or driveway. Signs of damage are very similar to that of other pests, such as yellow and browning patches of turf. Easily identified as a full beetle, they are about 1/4th of an inch in length. Their larvae are small and white, but also can feed on turf in a similar manner. The best time for prevention is spring, as the females are laying their eggs. Pesticide and watering will be the best way to get rid of these critters.
These larvae grow and operate in and around tunnels formed beneath your turf, and in the thatch. They are often referred to as “lawn moths” and they tuck their wings around their body to give them the appearance of a worm. Unfortunately, they reproduce multiple times over in a given season, spreading quickly. Small brown spots with the appearance of being grazed is the biggest sign of an infestation. Typically, this will happen through the middle and end of summer. Moths moving across the turf at dusk can be another indicator. Insecticide can be used, but proper watering techniques can solve your webworm problems.
Although not typically an insect or pest found in our area, Armyworms have recently become an increasing threat. One of the most dangerous pests for your turf, they burrow beneath the soil, and destroy your lawn. Laying small, white, and spherical eggs they also reproduce rather quickly. Generally found in warmer climates, it is odd to see them so far north. The name may mislead, but they are actually the larvae of the Armyworm Moth. As they quickly feed on your turf, brown spots may appear out of nowhere, a clear sign of an Armyworm problem. Additionally, you can pour out a large sum of soapy water onto your lawn, and any armyworms will come to the surface. They look similar to a caterpillar, and possess long, bright, stripes across their body. If you have an infestation, acting quickly is a must. For your lawn to recover, you will need double aeration and overseeding, as well as a lawn treatment.