Common Lawn Insects That Damage Lawns
SOD WEBWORM – Lawn Insects
WHAT YOU’LL SEE… are dead or brown patches in your lawn that are about 4 – 6 inches in diameter. In the early morning you may even see what appears to be a spider’s web at the base of the dead patch. These patches will spread over a large area of the lawn and will cause a general thinning appearance due to these lawn insects.
THE REASON FOR THE PROBLEM… is a brownish-green caterpillar about 3 inches long. He is eating the blades of grass at the base, causing the blade to fall over.
WHAT YOU’LL SEE… is a general browning of the lawn. It appears that the lawn is just drying up from lack of water, even though you are watering regularly. The entire blade of grass will turn yellow or brown from the ground up to the tip. It will be most common along driveways and sidewalks where the soil is warmest. Lawns that have a high percentage of fine fescue in their population have a higher chance of seeing chinchbug damage.
THE REASON FOR THE PROBLEM… is a tiny beetle about 1 cm long. The adult will have black and white coloring. The beetle sucks the juices out of the grass blade, causing it to turn yellow.
WHAT YOU’LL SEE… is a general yellowing of sections of the lawn. Each of the grass blades will be yellow, and if you gently tug on the blade, it may pull right up from the base.
THE REASON FOR THE PROBLEM… are the two stages of the Billbug. The first stage is a tiny grub that actually eats the grass stem from the inside out. When it turns into an adult black beetle, the beetle sucks the juices out of the blades causing damage as well.
WHAT YOU’LL SEE…will be one of two situations. Either you’ll notice that skunks or other animals are digging up your lawn or that large sections of your lawn are turning brown. Either way, you already know there is a problem! We normally see grub problems either in the late spring or the late summer and fall periods. However, you may occasionally see damage in the heat of the summer.
THE REASON FOR THE PROBLEM…is a white grub. A grub is the immature stage of various kinds of beetles. The most common beetles in our area are the European Chafer, Japanese Beetle or the June Beetle. All lay eggs in the summer which turn into grubs that feed in the fall, over-winter deep in the soil and feed again in the spring before pupating into beetles. Grubs feed on the root system of the grass. That’s why the grass turns brown and dies.
Summer. Grubs in the spring often mean beetles in the summer; the beetles then lay more eggs, which become the grubs of the fall. If no current activity can be seen, or there has been a history of grub problems in your area, we recommend a preventive application in the late summer. This application is particularly effective, since grubs that are present in the fall are generally younger and smaller and, therefore, easier to control. If we are able to control the grubs in the fall, then they will not be present to cause damage the following spring either.
THE BEST WAYS TO CONTROL THESE PROBLEMS… is to keep your lawn well-watered. Research has shown that lawns can recover from even relatively high populations of insects if they are well watered. Also, keeping the mower set at high levels is crucial for maintaining the health of your lawn.
OTHER OPTIONS AVAILABLE TO YOU… include insecticide applications to reduce the populations of these turf damaging pests. For an extra charge we do apply lawn insecticides which control Fleas, Ticks as well as the above listed insects.
EUROPEAN CRANE FLY
WHAT YOU’LL SEE…giant mosquito like insects flying daintily across your lawn and hanging on your home. In May you could see the larva stage with hundreds of green worms crawling across the ground on lawns and driveways. Damage to the lawn will exhibit thinning areas that within 2-3 weeks could become completely bare soil. May is the month where severe damage is most noticeable.
THE REASON FOR THE PROBLEM…is the introduction of a new invasive European Crane Fly that originated from Europe and in 2002 invaded Canada where it has now found its way into Michigan as early as 2010. The ECF, European Crane Fly, is capable of laying 300 eggs. Japanese Beetles can only lay 50 grub eggs so the potential for severe infestation levels is dramatically higher with the ECF compared to grubs. This new invasive insect also devours grass unlike any insect we have ever known by first eating the leaf blade working down to the stalk and then feeding on the root s system before eventually devouring the crown virtually denying the grass plant any chance of recovery. A grub just feeds on the roots and surface feeding insects like the Sod Webworm only prey on the leaves and stalk yet this ECF is a comprehensive feeder of the entire grass structure and its appetite for feeding allows it to consume large volumes of foliage within several days. ECF females prefer to lay their eggs in moist turf where it is most viable for their young to survive. Well irrigated lawns in the fall will provide adequate habitats for the ECF to survive.
THE BEST WAYS TO CONTROL THIS PROBLEM…is to keep an eye out for the adults in August before they lay eggs in late September. If their presence is detected a special insecticide containing Acelepryn is needed. Acelepryn is the safest insecticide on the market and the EPA has determined no warning signals are required on its label a simple caution has been determined for its use. Unlike grubs, there are no organic products at this time. If larvas are discovered early this spring Acelepryn can be used however in May it could be too late for this product to control ECF and other trusted insecticides may be required.
Posted on: August 4, 2015
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