When it’s thick, healthy and emerald green, your lawn is one of the most inviting parts of your home landscape. But when your turf is brown and sickly due to pest invasion, it quickly loses its appeal. Learning about the various pests that threaten your grass – and then arming yourself with an effective treatment plan – will help ensure your lawn stays healthy and beautiful.
Identifying common lawn pests and the damage they cause
The best way to control lawn pests is to identify them correctly, get to know their life cycles and symptoms, and then treat them promptly and properly at optimal times.
Common signs that pests have invaded your turf include brown spots, dead and dying grass patches, wilting blades, bite marks on grass, and, of course, insects in the grass or turf layer. Signs of underground pest damage include thin or missing roots and holes in the soil.
The following pests can cause significant damage to your lawn:
Grubs (beetle larvae)
Among the most damaging of all lawn pests, white grubs (Phyllophaga species) are the larvae of a wide variety of scarab beetles, including masked chafers and Japanese beetles. In the spring, summer and early fall, these plump, c-shaped larvae feast on lawn grass roots just below the soil surface.
Turf grass can be attacked by several types of chinch bugs, including the common hairy chinch bugs, which inhabit different areas of the country. Chinch bugs are sap-sucking insects that feed on grass Several types of chinch bugs attack lawn grasses, including the hairy chinch bug commonly found across a wide range of the country. Chinch bugs are sap-sucking insects that feed by sucking on grass blades. While feeding, chinch bugs secrete an anticoagulant that causes grass to stop absorbing water. As a result, the grass withers and dies.
Sod webworms are the turf-damaging larvae of the sod webworm moth. The young sod webworm matures to about 1 inch in length and becomes brown or green in color with dark spotting. The dingy, gray-tan adult moth has a distinctive protrusion that looks like a double snout.
A pest-free lawn is a pleasant place for family and friends to gather and enjoy your outdoor spaces. Keep an eye out for these common turf nuisances and act promptly when they strike.