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Above-Ground Insects

by Dawn West, All About Lawns Columnist

Sod Webworm
Sod Webworm


Sod Webworms: Sod Webworms are night-flying moths as adults and greenish-tan caterpillars with black spots in their infancy. The moths are different then others do to their zigzag flying motion above your lawn at night. But the most damage done is when they are caterpillars eating at the grass stems and creating brown patches in your lawn. To help determine if you have a problem with Sod Worms, you can try a lawn-soaking test. Simply mix around 6 tablespoons of dishwashing fluid, detergent, or soap with 2 gallons of water and apply it to the section of damaged lawn. The soap will help bring the webworms to the surface so you can determine what they are, and how many. If you find more then 12 worms per square yard, it may be time to take action.

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Chinch Bug
Chinch Bug

 

Chinch Bugs

: Chinch bugs very small bugs (usually 1/3 inch or less in length) that are red in appearance when young, and black with white wings along their backs when grown. These bugs are common to St. Augustine Grasses, and a lesser degree to Kentucky Bluegrass, Zoysia, and Bent grass. Chinch Bugs feed on grass blades by sucking-out the juices and drying out the grass. The most common signs of Chinch Bug infestation is the appearance of yellow colored patches that eventually turn brown and die. The easy way to check for Chinch bugs in your lawn is to place a bottomless container or coffee can a few inches into the ground over the edge of one of the infected spots and fill it with water. Eventually, if present, the Chinch bugs will float to the top.

  • Getting Rid of Them: The common insecticides used on Chinch Bugs are Diazinon and Dursban. Pyrethrin, insecticidal soaps, and Flortine (Chinch resistant) type St. Augustine grasses are also used. However, for most people, proper lawn maintenance is the best control for Chinch Bugs. This includes watering, aeration, dethatching, and mowing higher. Since Chinch bugs like to lay their eggs in layers of thatch, it is important that thatch levels are kept under control! Click here for a list of companies in your area who can help you control Chinch Bugs!
Armyworm
Armyworm

 

Armyworms

: Armyworms are caterpillars that will eventually become moths when mature. They tend to be around 1-2 inches in length and are identifiable by their greenish-brown color and the horizontal stripes down their backs. They can also be recognized by the upside down V on their foreheads. These worms usually flourish during the late-spring and early-fall months, and thrive in moist soil during night-time, and cloudy conditions. They feed off of your grass leaves and tend to leave your lawn with brown dead-spots that do not recover from waterings. To determine if you have a problem with Armyworms, you can try a lawn-soaking test. Simply mix around 6 tablespoons of dishwashing fluid, detergent, or soap with 2 gallons of water and apply it to the section of damaged lawn. The soap will help bring the Armyworms to the surface so you can determine what they are, and how many. If you find more then 4 worms per square yard, it may be time to take action.

  • Getting Rid of Them: The common insecticides used on Armyworms are BT (Bacillus thuringiensis), Orthene, Diazinon and Dursban. Nematodes, pyrethrum, and Endophyte-enhanced grasses are also used. However, for most people, proper lawn maintenance is the best control for Armyworms. This includes watering, aeration, and dethatching. Since Armyworms tend to hide in layers of thatch during the daytime, it is important that thatch levels are kept under control! Click here for a list of companies in your area who can help you control Armyworms!
Greenbug
Greenbug

 

Greenbugs

: Greenbugs (or aphids) are tiny pear-shaped insects with long legs that are a bright, yellowish-green in color, hence their name. Although tiny in appearance, they can amass in quantities and look tiny little ticks attacking your lawn. They are commonly found on Kentucky Bluegrasses that are in hot and shaded areas of your lawn. They can eventually cause patches of yellow to brown spots by sucking the fluids from the grass leaves while also injecting a toxin into the grass.

  • Getting Rid of Them: The common methods for ridding your lawn of Greenbugs are: insecticidal soaps, pyrethrins, and Neem Oil. However, some of the best ways to eliminate Greenbugs is to simply allow the "good" insects such as lady bugs, wasps, ground beetles, and others to pray on them and help do the work for you. If that's not enough, simply try spraying down your lawn with water to discourage them from proliferating.
Cutworm
Cutworm

 

Cutworms

: Cutworms are caterpillars that will eventually become moths when mature. They tend to be around 1-2 inches in length and are distinguishable by their greenish-brown color and their horizontal stripes and/or spots down their backs. They can also be recognized by the way they curl-up when exposed, creating a spiral ball. These worms usually flourish during the late spring and early fall months and thrive in moist soil during night-time, and cloudy conditions. They feed off of your grass leaves and tend to leave your lawn with brown dead-spots that do not recover from waterings. The help determine if you have a problem with Cutworms, you can try a lawn-soaking test. Simply mix around 6 tablespoons of dishwashing fluid, detergent, or soap with 2 gallons of water and apply it to the section of damaged lawn. The soap will help bring the Cutworms to the surface so you can determine what they are, and how many. If you find more then 4 worms per square yard, it may be time to take action.



About the Author
Dawn West B.A. holds a B.A. in English from Harvard University and teaches writing at Oregon State University.

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