How To Detect And Treat Common Lawn Pests
When your lawn is thick, healthy and emerald green, it’s one of the most inviting parts of your home landscape. But when your turf is brown and sickly due to pest invasion, it quickly loses its appeal. Learning about the various pests that threaten your grass and then arming yourself with an effective treatment plan will help ensure your lawn stays healthy and beautiful.
The best way to control lawn pests is to identify them correctly, get to know their life cycles and symptoms, then treat them promptly and properly at optimal times. The following pests can cause significant damage to your lawn:
Insecticides That Do Not Work On Grubs
Do not use products containing ONLY lambda-cyhalothrin, gamma-cyhalothrin, bifenthrin, deltamethrin, cyfluthrin or permethrin for grub control. Products containing only these ingredients will not work for grub control because the active ingredient binds with organic material and will not move down to where the grubs are feeding. These products work well for above-ground feeding insects that live on the grass leaves or soil surface, but not for insects that feed on the roots. At one garden center a clerk showed us two products, one containing only permethrin and one containing only bifenthrin, when we asked for products to control grubs. Neither of the products listed grubs on the label printed on the bag and neither of the products would have controlled grubs.
Do I Have A Lawn Grub Problem
Lawn grubs can be present in your lawn but cause absolutely no problems. But how do you know if you have a real lawn grub problem?
Since grubs eat grass roots, the lawn will be easy to pull up in chunks. If its still firmly rooted, then you have another problem, such as brown patch or dog urine damage. Heres a good test, from the University of California Integrated Pest Management Program: Pull up about 1 square foot of the earth around the base of your sod . If you notice more than 6 grubs in this space, its a good time to consider preventive methods or treatments to reduce overpopulation.
Shetlar, however, recommended that lawn lovers should be even more vigilant, especially in order to prevent large critters from eating them. When talking about the maximum threshold of tolerance for grubs, I always chuckle about , in that skunks and raccoons havent read about this threshold.
As such, it may be worthwhile for homeowners to be just a little warier on account of skunks and raccoons. Shetlar added, If there are four to five grubs per square foot, thats usually enough for them to be digging around.
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A Summary For Successful Grub Control
- Check the bag or bottle to determine what active ingredient the product contains.
- Do not use products containing ONLY lambda-cyhalothrin, gamma-cyhalothrin, bifenthrin, deltamethrin, cyfluthrin or permethrin for any phase of grub control.
- Do not use preventive compounds such as clothianidin, thiamethoxam or imidacloprid now. Use them in June or July to control grubs that would be damaging turf in the fall. Applying them now will allow some of the chemical to leach through the turf or break down to the point that not enough insecticide will be there in July to control grubs.
- The preventive compound chlorantraniliprole should ideally be applied in April or May to control grubs that would be damaging turf in the fall as it will take longer for the material to move to where the grubs will be feeding in July.
- To kill grubs in the spring or fall, use carbaryl or trichlorfon.
- Always wear rubber gloves and rubber boots when applying insecticides to turfgrass.
- Make sure to irrigate the lawn with at least 0.5 inches of water* and allow the grass to dry before allowing anyone or pets into the treated area. Irrigation is essential for the chemical to be most effective.
- Store insecticide products in a locked cabinet not accessible to children.
- Proper fertilization is important to prevent and allow the lawn to recover from grub damage.
- Mow lawns immediately before applying an insecticide for grubs to remove weed flowers and protect bees.
- Apply in spring or fall to active grubs.
Grub Signs And Symptoms
Because grubs lurk beneath the soils surface, their presence is usually noticed only after the damage has begun. Grub damage takes the form of irregularly shaped brown patches on a lawn. It usually makes its first appearance in August is sometimes mistaken for drought harm. Unlike a drought-damaged lawn, grub-infested turf peels up easily from the soil because its roots have been depleted. Other signs are indicated by flocks of birds that descend on your lawn or turned over, damaged areas of grass. Birds, moles, and skunks feed on grubs and will cause additional harm to your turf as they search for their next feeding.
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Grub Worm Type : Northern & Southern Masked Chafers
Native to North America, the northern masked chafer is found across the northeast. A similar species, the southern masked chafer, is more common in the southern states. There is an imported European species as well.
Adult masked chafer beetles are 1/2-inch long. They are shiny brown with a dark mask across the head. Emerging in late June and actively breeding for about a month, adult chafers do not feed. They are nocturnal, and males can be found flying just above the soil surface in search of a mate.
The grub worms of northern masked chafers feed on the roots of cool-season turf grasses while the southern species attacks warm-season and transitional grasses. Their physical appearance is nearly identical to other white grub species, and again, a careful examination of the pattern of hairs on the last abdominal segment is necessary for identification. With this species, the hairs are randomly patterned.
Grubs In The Garden: Know If They Are Eating Your Grass
Have you ever looked into your lawn to see it wilting, portions turning brown, or even dying? You might have thought about whether the problem is how you water, the weather condition, or soil condition. Yet here you are investigating if grubs might have been destroying your beautiful grass. So, how do you know whether grubs in the garden are ruining your plants?
Here are the measures to consider.
1. Check the date
Grass in summer, due to heat and drought, usually becomes brown. In late or after summer, your grass is supposed to be recovering and looking livelier again. If you see some parts of your lawn not recovering and continuing to get brown, grubs might be hiding below your turf.
Make sure to see through your garden first before concluding anything. The following are what you should check out for.
- Irregular brown patches. Your lawn could turn into brown due to insufficient soil nutrients. But check out if the browning of your lawn is in patches or uneven brown spots. You can have green and brown grass at the same time.
- Dig up the soil. Check out if your soil or lawn has been dug up. You might think that grubs are only predators in your garden, but they are also prey. Grubs in garden soil also attract insect-eating predators such as moles, skunks, raccoons, and possums. These predators prefer insects or pests like grubs rather than your grass.
3. Tug up your grass.
4. Dig up.
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Natural Ways To Get Rid Of Lawn Grubs
You can pursue two organic options for getting rid of lawn grubs before turning to chemicals. These are safer for the environment and wont harm beneficial insects, but they will take longer to be effective. In some cases, it may take years for the natural treatments to fully eradicate a lawn grub colony.
A Few Grub Worms Are No Problem A Lot Of Grubs Spell Trouble For Your Yard Learn How To Spot Treat And Prevent A Lawn Grub Infestation
If you have a turf lawn, you almost certainly have lawn grubs. These destructive pests are present during certain times of the year in most parts of the U.S.
Your healthy grass can sustain a little lawn grub damage and be OK. But when grubs proliferate, they can really wreak havoc. Take action before its too late. Read on to learn what you need to about lawn grubs, including how to prevent and eradicate them.
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- Spongey-feeling grass.
- Grass lifts up like a piece of carpet because its roots have died off.
Of course, another sure way to tell if you have grubs is to actually see them in your soil. Dig down three to four inches in several different sections of soil. An occasional grub is not cause for concern. But if you find more than five grub worms per square foot, Sod Solutions says its time for immediate treatment.
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Introduce Milky Spore Disease
Introducing milky spore disease in your lawn will help control the Japanese beetle larva and reduce their population naturally. The disease is applied on the turf as a dust and is very effective in controlling Japanese beetle grubs. As the grubs feed on the roots of the grass, they ingest the bacteria and get infected and die.
To get rid of white grubs in your lawn using milky spore bacteria, apply a tablespoon of the dust spacing four feet apart from each deposit. Do not use a spreader or a garden sprayer to spread. Water the treatment lightly for about 15 minutes.
Milky spore is a great natural treatment for grubs that last long usually providing grub control for even more than 15 years.
However, the results may not be immediate since it takes time for the disease to develop to full effectiveness in the turf. In cooler climates, youll start seeing results after a few seasons.
Once it takes effect, this grub worm fix is very effective and lasts very long, making it great for lawns with recurring instances of grub damage.
The disadvantage of using milky spore is that it only gets rid of Japanese beetle grub worms and not other species. If you have June bugs and May beetles, you might want to use other natural ways of removing them in your lawn.
S You Can Take To Identify And Treat An Infestation
Unlike the common earthworm, grubs are terrible for your lawn. They are most prevalent in summer when insects are plentiful and the moist grass of well-tended lawns provides an attractive site for them to lay their eggs. Learn to recognize and address a grub problem before they have the chance to make your lawn miserable.
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Grub Worm Type : May/june Beetles
Though there are several hundred different species of May/June beetles, only about two dozen of them are considered pests. Adult May/June beetles are brown or black and 1/2- to 1-inch in length. Often found around lights on summer evenings, the adult beetles are nocturnal, and they are active for only a few weeks each year. The adult beetles dont cause much damage.
The lifecycle of May/June beetles ranges from one to three years depending on the species, and most of their lives are spent underground as larvae. A bit larger than Japanese beetle grub worms, May/June beetles can also be distinguished by two parallel rows of thick, stubby, dark hairs on the underside of their last abdominal segment .
Reseeding After Lawn Grub Treatment
Dead lawn patches should be reseeded. For me, its currently too late in the season. So Ive cleared out most of the patches, treated the lawn with Scotts GrubEx, will also soon spread Winterizer fertilizer and then reseed in the spring. And hopefully, my yard will remain grub free!
This is Sharyns Slant.
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Breaking The Japanese Beetles Lifecycle
Breaking the beetles annual lifecycle is key to controlling grubs in your lawn. Understanding their lifecycle will help you identify the best time for treatment and what product to use.
Spring: As the weather warms, grubs migrate upward where they transform into adult beetles.
Summer: Beetles emerge in early-summer and eat plants throughout the garden. They lay their eggs in the lawn and in late-summer, around August, the grubs emerge and begin feeding.
Fall: Larvae will continue to eat and grow fat through mid-fall.
Winter: Grubs move 26 below the soils surface to survive winter.
Simple Grub Control Options
- Birds: Do what you can to attract birds to your yard using bird feeders, bird baths and nesting homes. Birds eat bugs including grubs.
- Beer: Another lawn control option that is said to work is to set a beer trap. Use an old plastic bowl approximately three inches deep by six inches in diameter. Dig a hold so the bowl fits to where the top lip of the container is at ground level. Pour beer in the bowl.
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How To Check For Grubs In Lawn
Before you start treating, it is important to check to make sure that indeed there are grubs damaging your lawn. Irregular brown patches of dying grass are the first sign. If you see the patches, lift the turf to check for the grub worms.
Take a shovel and dig a square foot about 3 inches deep and lift the turf to check for grub worms. If you find one or two grubs is normal and healthy, but if you find 5 or more grubs, you have a grub worm infestation that needs treatment to prevent further damage to your turfgrass.
Grub Worm Type : Oriental Beetles
Since its introduction in the 1920s, this Asian species has become common from Maine to South Carolina and west to Wisconsin. Adult beetles emerge in late June through July and are active for two months. They are similar in size to Japanese beetles but are straw-colored with dark, irregular blotches on their wing covers. Active only at night, the adult beetles feed on flowers and skeletonize leaves. Though they sound intimidating, adult Oriental beetles seldom cause noticeable damage.
The grubs however, can cause substantial injury to the roots turf grass. Often blamed on the more visible Japanese beetle, the damage caused by Oriental beetle grubs generates a brown, patchy lawn, particularly in late summer and fall.
To distinguish this grub worm from other types, look for two parallel rows of dark hairs on their posterior .
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Preventive Insecticides That Will Prevent Grub Damage Next Fall And Following Spring
These products are used to prevent future grub problems, not to control the grubs present in the lawn in the spring. They will not work on grubs found in the lawn from the middle of October through the middle of May. However, when applied in June or July they provide excellent protection against the next generation of grubs. So, if you need to apply the preventive insecticide BEFORE the grubs are there, how do you know if you need to use an insecticide or not? If you confirmed grub damage the previous fall or spring, meaning you found lots of grubs, then you may want to use a preventive insecticide for one or two years to build a more dense turf that will be tolerant of grubs. If you have treated for several years and you do not see evidence of grubs in your lawn or in the neighbors lawn, it may be time to stop treating. There is an erroneous philosophy being perpetuated that because we have European chafers and Japanese beetles in the area, it is necessary to treat every year or your lawn will be damaged by grubs. This is not true.
In addition, grub control products that contain the active ingredient chlorantraniliprole are safe for bees, even when weed flowers are sprayed. Finally, avoid spray drift or granular spreader drift to flower beds when applying thiamethoxam, imidacloprid, clothianidin or any insecticide for grubs other than chlorantraniliprole
Are There Any Brown Patches In Your Lawn
Have you begun to notice patches of oddly shaped dead spots on your lawn? When your yard is under attack by grubs, grass will thin and turn brown. This leads to visible larger brown patch areas in your yard.
Its common to notice these odd-shaped brown patches in late summer or early fall. During this period, grubs amp up their eating, and the damaged and dead grass becomes more visible.
Many factors can cause brown patches in your yard, like drought or disease. However, if you see brown patches and other signs of grubs, it is likely time to start grub control treatments. Have a pest control company inspect your yard to discover the truth of the issue.
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Inspection For Lawn Grubs
Most of the signs of grub presence mentioned above are visual and only assessed based on the look of things or what you notice. However, youll need to further clarify things by inspecting if there are indeed grubs in your lawn.
To do this, youll need to take the following measures August and September are the best times of the year to inspect and treat for grubs simply because these pests are closer to the soil surface and most active during this time.
Get a spade and cut about a square foot of the lawn section. The cut should be at least 2 to 4 inches deep. Next, pull back the cut area to reveal the soil beneath. This is the time for careful inspection. Inspect for white grubs.
There shouldnt be more than 5 per square foot. If there are, youll need to commence treatment. Replace the cut area of the soil and apply water to prevent it from dying off.
This article provides you with the critical signs of grub presence in your lawn. Now that you know, its left for you to take urgent actions to fix an existing problem.