Lawn Killing Bugs
February 28, 2017
You walk out your front door, morning coffee in your hand, admiring the beautiful day in front of you. The sky is blue, the sun is shining, and the birds are chirping a sweet melody. There is a slight chill in the air before the sun heats things up and all is right with the world. But then you notice it. The one thing that ruins your morning and your lawn: A brown spot on your beautiful, green lawn. You haven’t noticed it before and you wonder what could have caused it. Could it be a lack of water? It could be during the winter time, but unlikely during the summer since it rains almost every day in south Florida. The most likely source of the brown spot is a bug problem. Certain pests can wreak havoc on a lawn and need to be stopped before your lawn becomes their home.
The first noticeable sign of a pest problem is a few small brown spots or one big spot on your lawn. You should not jump to the conclusion that it’s a pest infestation. It could be a lack of water. To test this, put a few rain gauges around your lawn, in the green and brown areas, to see if those areas are getting enough water. The desired amount of water is ½ an inch or ¾ of an inch. If your lawn is getting that amount, then you might have a pest problem.
The most common lawn pest in south Florida is the Chinch bug. Chinch bugs are very small, black pests with wings that fold on their backs. They feed on the grass by sucking out the nutrients using a needle-like beak, while injecting a poison that kills the grass. Chinch bugs are active all year round. The first signs will be small yellow or brown patches in your lawn.
The next pests are grubs. Grubs are small, white c-shaped bugs with six legs. They are the larval stage of beetles. Grubs feed on the root system of the grass causing extensive damage. The root system of grass is its lifeline. With it destroyed, the lawn will be dead very quickly if left untreated. Infected lawns will have thin, yellow areas of grass where the root system has been destroyed.
Another pest is the fall armyworms. Fall armyworms are actually caterpillars and can be 1-2 inches long when fully grown. They are active from the beginning of summer to the end of fall. Signs of an infestation include damaged or missing blades of grass. Small ones will chew on the grass blade, while larger ones will eat the entire blade. If you notice moths flying around your lawn then you should check your lawn for caterpillars.
The last pest is the sod webworm. Sod webworms are also moth caterpillars. They like to feed on grasses and plants of all kinds. They grow to be about ¾ of an inch long and range from pink to yellowish brown. They are most active from the spring to the fall. The first signs are brown spots and chewed grass blades. These little guys need to be taken care of quickly because a large infestation can kill a lawn in only a few days!
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