A lush, green lawn is not just a picturesque addition to your outdoor space; it’s a sanctuary for relaxation, play, and outdoor gatherings. However, maintaining that perfect expanse of turf can be an ongoing battle, especially when uninvited guests arrive in the form of pests.
These relentless invaders can wreak havoc on your lawn, turning it from a source of pride to a patchwork of problems. Here are three common pests that have the potential to ruin your carefully nurtured turf.
1. Sod Webworms
Sod webworms are tiny light-yellow moths that can be seen flying around from the start of spring to late autumn. Adult moths deposit their eggs on grass, where they will hatch into larvae in about a week. Grass leaves become unevenly brown with a scalped or grazed look when these tiny brown caterpillars eat them.
The larvae eat the grass edges and whole stems, which significantly damages the turf. Depending on the severity of the infestation, this can cause vast areas of grass to turn brown or die suddenly. Holes dug by birds searching for worms are common in these bare areas. The larvae spin silken tubes even on the turf.
Pesticides or a professional pest management agency are your best bets for eliminating and preventing further damage from sod webworms. Damage from an infestation of sod webworms can quickly deteriorate and spread, so prompt treatment is necessary to contain the problem.
Grubs are the larval stages of many different kinds of scarab beetles, including masked chafers and Japanese beetles. When these bugs eat the grass roots, they sever them, and the grass can not get sufficient moisture from the soil. When grubs invade a yard, they chew the roots out of the grass, causing it to die and turn brown.
Grubs are often easy to spot if you lift the grass back. In addition, creatures like raccoons and birds that rummage through your yard are probably searching for grubs. Each type of grub has a unique life cycle. During the summer, females of most species lay eggs, which hatch into larvae that feed on grass roots during the subsequent fall. As winter approaches and temperatures begin to drop, grubs go underground to escape freezing. The grubs emerge from the soil at the beginning of spring and munch on grass roots until they develop into pupae and emerge as adult beetles.
You can introduce natural predators like nematodes, which are minute parasites that harm grubs, or use a chemical insecticide. By dramatically lowering the moisture content, you may also render your lawn less hospitable to grubs.
3. Chinch Bugs
Chinch bugs are tiny, sap-feeding insects that cause annual damage to lawns by feeding on the leaves of grass. These pests are most active from June through September. They have a black body and white wings folded over their backs.
Because of the anticoagulant they secrete while feeding, grass loses its green color, turns yellow, and eventually dies. It is easy to blame drought-related stress for this damage, but a deeper look will show you the real culprit. Preventing an infestation of chinch bugs requires vigilant watering and monitoring for indicators of pest activity. If chinch bugs are discovered, they can be exterminated manually, with insecticide, or by hiring a pest management service.
If you ignore the chinch bug problem, it can soon become out of control and ruin your lawn. Take the time to care for properly and regularly inspect your yard to lessen the likelihood that these pests will cause any further damage.