How do I identify my lawn pests?
Have you noticed brown patches on your lawn? Is your lawn dying and you don't know why? The chances are, lawn pests have infiltrated your grass. Although lawn pests are a nuisance, there is always something you can do to get rid of them and bring your grass back to life. In order to help you identify some of the pests you are likely to find in your garden, we created this guide. It includes everything you need to know about garden pests, including what to look out for and how to eliminate them.
What are common lawn pests?
There are different bugs and lawn pests that can ruin your garden. Below are some of the most common types you should look out for.
Grubs (beetle larvae)
White grubs are beetles in their larval stage. In most cases, they are the larvae of scarab beetles or Japanese beetles, and they can cause a lot of damage to your lawn. You will likely find grubs in your garden during the late summer months because early summer is the mating season for adult beetles.
Grubs prevent you from maintaining a healthy lawn because they burrow into your soil, eating the roots of your grass. Due to their burrowing habits, they can be challenging to find, but there are some telltale signs that suggest you have a grub infestation. The initial sign of a grub infestation is wilting grass blades, followed by yellow patches, and eventually, dead grass.
Chinch bugs like to feast on the blades of turf grass and will stop at nothing to get to your grass blades. There are different species of chinch bugs, although the hairy chinch bug is the most common type of bug found in North America. Chinch bug damage is caused by the bugs extracting the sap from individual blades of grass. Moreover, when adult chinch bugs are feeding, they excrete a substance that prevents the grass from absorbing water.
Sod webworms are one of the most common lawn insects that you will find in your garden. Similarly to the grub, they are a type of larvae, but this time it is the young version of lawn moths. The adult moths lay their eggs on your perfect lawn and within a week, the larvae have hatched, ready to devour your grass. They feed on your blades, demolishing the entire stem. This means that where the eggs have been laid, you will begin to see dead spots of grass as brown patches start to appear.
Ants are one of the easiest pests to spot on your grass because they are larger than many other pests and travel in large packs. If you have an ant infestation on your lawn, it means that a colony of ants has made your grass their home and they have built vast breeding chambers beneath the surface of your soil. Luckily, because ant infestations are fairly localized, you can get rid of ant nests fairly easily, although the patches of lawn they have inhabited are quite difficult to bring back to life.
Female adult fiery skippers lay their eggs directly onto grass blades, and it is the larvae that are hatched out of the eggs that cause major damage. The larvae have a large black head, a narrow neck, and a green/brown body. They thrive during the summer months and transform a green lawn into small circles of dead grass.
The affected area can be limited to only a couple of inches, but if a lot of fiery skipper larvae are in your garden, the smaller circles will join to make bigger brown spots. You will most likely see these dead patches of grass appear on the soil surface near other thriving plants as they will also feast on flowers.
3 ways to treat pests on your lawn
Leave it up to lawn care professionals
The number one way to get rid of pests on your lawn is to call a lawn care professional. Whether you have an infestation of lawn grubs or a group of stubborn ants that you can't get rid of, lawn care professionals will fix your problem. When you call a specialist, you take all the guesswork out of finding a solution. They will give every square foot of your garden the attention it needs to bring it back to life.
Import natural predators
If you are looking for a long-term humane way to get rid of pests and prevent lawn damage, consider importing natural predators into your garden. There are plenty of insects that will happily live in your garden without doing it any damage and will get rid of unwanted lawn pests. Common examples of beneficial insects include spiders, ladybugs, and wasps. They will prey on the problematic pests in your garden without damaging your lawn. This is a humane way of letting the natural order of the world take its course.
If you are looking for a quick fix to your pest problem, insecticides are the perfect solution. They are easy to apply and will almost instantly kill off any colonies of pests that are destroying your lawn. However, this is not a form of lawn management that we regularly recommend due to the negative effects it has on the environment.
Not only are insecticides and pesticides bad for the environment due to the harmful chemical they include, but they can also kill off the beneficial insects that live in the microbiome of your garden. This can end up causing additional damage to plants and grass, making the entire process counterintuitive.
Lawn care services
If you suspect that you have a bug infestation in your lawn, the best thing you can do is call a lawn care specialist. A professional lawn maintenance company such as Forever Green will provide you with the peace of mind you need to ensure all pests are eliminated from your garden. On top of that, our team takes care of every aspect of lawn care (aeration, weed control, hydroseeding, etc.).