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Common Lawn Pests and the Best Controls For Them

Updated: Mar 12, 2022

Chinch bugs are small (~4 mm) black bugs with a large white spot on their back that plague lawns during the hot summer months. Due to their small size, chinch bug populations can become very large very quickly without being noticed, allowing devastating lawn damage to occur. Chinch bugs feed on lawn grasses, especially St. Augustine, sucking sap from the plants until they are dead, and then moving on. Damage is most common in front yards since chinch bugs congregate in hot, sunny areas of the yard. Topical insecticides containing synthetic pyrethroids (esp. Bifenthrin) are effective at eradicating them, although multiple treatments may be needed. For quicker results, liquid pesticides are recommended.

Sod Webworms are small (0.8 in-1 in) whitish to gray moths that lay eggs in the summer and autumn months. The larvae, brownish to greenish caterpillars only around 0.5 inches long, feed on grass blades, creating notches along the edges resembling a key. While damage from sod webworms is not as rapid or drastic as chinch bugs, controls should be applied whenever adult moths are seen flying out of the lawn. Because the sod webworm larvae will be on the blades of the grass a spray treatment is recommended. It can be helpful to switch up the active ingredients when spraying, but overall bifenthrin and cyhalothrin tend to work the best. Since these are caterpillars, organic controls such as Spinosad can be effective, although synthetic insecticides will have more direct results. Since the adult moths are able to move from yard to yard, spraying once a week for three weeks is recommended to achieve control.

Grub Worms

Grub worms are the larvae of Scarabaeidae (Scarab) beetles, which in our area are typically June Bugs. The life cycle of June Bugs is an impressive one year, with the third larvae stage lasting up to nine months itself. Damage from that larvae stage is the most common, occurring usually in spring and fall. The most common areas for damage are around outdoor lights where the adult June bugs had dropped eggs while hovering around the light sources. Bayer Season-long Grub Control can be used as effective prevention, but if grub damage is present Bayer 24 hr Grub Control is needed to get quick control of the situation.

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