Four Common Lawn Insects and How to Get Rid of Them

There is very little that is more frustrating than working hard to maintain optimum growing conditions for your lawn, only to see it devoured from top and bottom by lawn insects.  There are insects that enjoy chomping on grass leaves, and others like suck the juices out of each individual leaf.  Some lawn insects feet on the roots of lawn insects, which also adversely impacts the health of the grass.  Here are some of the most common lawn insects and how to identify them and remove them from your yard.

1. Grubs

What are they? Grubs are the larval form of much more destructive insects, like Japanese beetles. Which stage does damage? Unfortunately, each stage of the grub can do damage to the garden.  Grubs eat the roots and stems of young plants.  Moles like to eat the grubs and are drawn to lawns with high grub populations.  Moles make tunnels and runways in the lawn.  Any grubs that are allowed to mature turn into Japanese beetles, which chow their way through prized plants like roses. How do you get rid of them? The best way to rid the garden of grubs is to apply Milky Spore, a bacteria that destroys the grubs.  This needs to be applied to the lawn at the proper time to work-when grubs are young.  This treatment works especially well when entire communities inoculate their lawns at one time.  The bonus effect of controlling grubs is that you also control moles and the adult grub populations, as well.

2. Chinch Bugs

What are they? Chinch bugs are one of the rare lawn insects that is found all over the United States. The adult orm is scarcely bigger than a ladybug.  They damage plants by sucking the juices out of the leaves. Which state does damage? The larval form does the most damage to lawns, hatching in April and May, and feeding on grass during the hot, dry summer months.  They overwinter as adults in the thatch layer of grass. How do you get rid of them? It is very difficult to rid a lawn of chinch bugs.  One of the most effective treatments is to plant resistant grass.  Some types of St. Augustine are more resistant to chinch bugs than other grass types.

3. Billbugs

What are they? Billbugs are the worst pests of Kentucky Bluegrass lawns.  The larvae of these bugs look like small grains of rice.  They feed on the stems of the grass, right at the base of the stem, which caused the grass to turn brown and die. Which stage causes damage? These bugs overwinter as adults.  The adults lay eggs in April and May, and the larvae commence eating the grass blades.  They turn to adults around the end of October.  These lawn insects begin to overwinter in late October in piles of leaves. How can you get rid of them? To keep these lawn insects out of your yard, it is best to discard leaf piles, or not keep leaf piles near the turf.

4. Sod Webworms

What are they? Adults are sometimes called "sod moths" because they fly up when disturbed from the grass.  They lay eggs as they fly, which become the ravenous caterpillars.  They overwinter as caterpillars in the soil, only to emerge in the spring to become adults and breed. Which stage causes damage? Sod webworms cause damage mostly in the caterpillar form.  They stay in this larval form for most of the year, eating everything they can reach. How can you get rid of them? The best way to rid your lawn of these pests is to irrigate and fertilize regularly.  Grass that is stressed is most susceptible to pest damage. Not all lawn insects are destructive, but the insects described are both destructive and highly prevalent.  For a healthy lawn, it is best to keep these lawn insects under control!
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