Insects can cause a lot of problems in a lawn. They can eat the grass blades, attack the roots, or just be a nuisance. The best way to get rid of an insect problem in your lawn is to call a professional, but if you want to do the work yourself, you should make sure you can identify some of the more common lawn insects.
First on the list is the immortal aphid. Aphids feed on all types of vegetation and come in a few varieties. If you get white pine aphids in your yard, they may not cause damage to your grass, but they can get into any decorative trees you may have and wreak havoc. There are many species, so if you think you do have an aphid problem, the best thing to do is consult a professional.
If you live in the southern part of the United States then you are likely familiar with a major turf pest: the armyworm. An armyworm is a moth in its larval form. They feed directly on turf grasses and will chew them all the way down to the ground. They most often appear in the fall as they feed to store up for the winter. Armyworms can cause a great deal of damage to a lawn if left untreated.
Another tough pest is the billbug. There are a number of different species of billbugs that attack different types of turf grass. The adults grow to about ¾ of an inch in length and can be identified by a long snout. These beetles will burrow in the grass stems right up by the surface of the soil. They also will feed directly on the grass leaves.
Another lawn pest is the chigger. Chiggers don’t really do damage to the lawn itself, but if you plan to enjoy your lawn with your family, you don’t want a chigger problem.
Chiggers are a type of mite that will attach themselves to your skin. Once they are attached they release a point that causes severe itching and stinging so that they may get access to blood. They are very tiny, so often only their effects are seen rather than the mites themselves.
Another moth larva that can cause a real problem is the cutworm. Cutworms are a spotted gray or black caterpillar that is about 2 inches in length. They will hide in the soil of your lawn during the day, and then they will come out at night to feed on your grass. They can do severe damage to Bermuda grasses, bent grasses and rye grasses which are their preferred food.
Another very destructive larva is that of several beetles, including the Japanese beetle. That, of course, there is the grub. Grubs live below the surface of the lawn and feast on the roots of grass plants. This eventually destroys the plant.
Generally grubs do most of their damage during the late summer months. The resulting damage, though, may not be apparent to the eye until fall rolls around and it is too late. If you are susceptible to grub problems, you should try to get your lawn treated in the early summer when the grubs are most susceptible to treatments and pesticides.
Leafhoppers are a tiny, but damaging, little pest. They are wedge shaped hopping and flying insects that are generally green in color. There are many species of leaf hopper, but most all of them love to feast on lawns. They climb onto the blades of the grass and suck the sap from the stems and leaves. The damage they cause can sometimes be so severe that lawns have to be reseeded. If you see white patches showing up in your yard, you may have a leaf hopper problem and should get it treated as soon as possible.
Insects, worms, and bugs can cause a lot of problems for an otherwise healthy lawn. There are countless types of these pests and many species within each type, but no matter which pest it is, quick identification and treatment is important.
It is recommended that you consult a professional before treating your lawn, but by identifying the problem early you may be able to get a jump on it before things get too serious.