You’re ‘bugging’ me!

Part 2 of our series continues with pests that may enter your lawn and deter you from having that thick, healthy, and emerald green lawn that you are hoping for.

The most common sign that there is a problem-  a lawn that begins to turn brown and wither. You may also notice bite marks on the grass and even the insects laying on the lawn. 

You will need to either inspect the lawn yourself or hire a Certified Pest Specialist (hi! yes that’s us!) to come in and assess the situation. The most important part of controlling these lawn pests is properly identifying them, learning the pest’s life cycle, and how to properly treat them.

Let’s take a closer look.

Grubs – the MOST damaging of all the lawn pests, white in color and c-shaped. You will begin to notice these pests in the spring and continue to see them throughout the summer and early fall. These pests like to feast on the grassroots underneath the soil.

– The first sign of grub damage is wilted grass blades. Left untreated you will begin to notice brown patches and perhaps, even death of the blades. An easy way to diagnose grubs is to try and pull your turf from the soil; if it is easy to pull back, you are more than likely dealing with grubs. Crows and skunks are also attracted to grubbing on grubs, so keep a lookout for them hovering by.

Chinch bug – there are many types of chinch bugs and it depends on where you live for which may be most common in your area. Either way, they are sap-suckers and love to attack your grass and suck on the blades. During their feeding, they will secrete a toxin that will cause your grass to stop absorbing water – resulting in it withering and dying. 

– Chinch bugs like to come out in the summer through the early fall. First signs are irregular patches of lawn and they may even start to take on a purple tinge just before wilting and browning. This is a hard one to detect because it is often mistaken for stress due to drought.

Sod webworm – this is the turf-damaging larvae of the sod webworm moth. Upon maturity, the sod webworm will grow to 1” in length. It often becomes brown or green and has distinctive dark spotting. On the adults, you will see a double snout (ewww).

– Sod webworms come into your lawn like a wrreeecking baalll! Their damage is fast and harsh. They will eat the grass blades of your lawn as well as the entire stem. It’s hard to ID these guys but if you are seeing holes in your lawn, it may be due to them. Birds often leave behind their marks while foraging for the worms. 

Cutworm – again, there are many species of the cutworm. Generally, they grow to about 2” and are gray/brown with some striping throughout their bodies. The cutworm will lay eggs in the tips of your grass blades, when they hatch they are worms that feed on your lawn at night and stay away during the day. Eventually, the worm turns into a moth and flies away but this cycle will repeat over and over if not treated.

– it takes a very close eye to catch these worms. When they come out at night they feed on the base of your grass, completely biting off the stems. Dead spots are common because these pests often hit the shortest grasses the hardest. 

I hope you enjoyed learning about your common lawn pests. Next week we will finish this series with how to properly treat your lawn to ensure its health and to deter pests!

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Building Industry Association of Lancaster County Ephrata Area Chamber of Commerce Techo-pro Contractor Certified ICPI Installer