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Below-Ground Insects

by Dawn West, All About Lawns Columnist

Bill Bug
Bill Bug


Bill Bugs

: Bill Bugs are found in two forms: adult and larvae (infant). The adult Bill Bugs look like a small beetle and are distinguishable by the long elephant-like bill that protrudes from their head. Hence the name. The adult Bill Bug feeds on grass stems above the surface. The younger Bill Bugs, or larvae, look like C-shaped, legless, wet pieces of white-rice and feed on grass roots. Bill bugs cause the most damage when they are larvae, and can spread and destroy large sections of grass if not contained or killed. The grasses most susceptible to Bill Bugs are: Bermuda, Kentucky Bluegrass, and Zoysia. The most common signs of Bill Bug problems are dead spots on your lawn that don't recover from watering. Since the larvae feeds on the roots, you can also tell by pulling-up on the dead grass and see if it comes up easily from the roots. If so, it could be Bill Bugs.

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  • Getting Rid of Them: The most common insecticides used for Bill Bugs are Diazinon and Sevin. Uses of Endophytes, Rotenone, lawn aeration, and Bill-Bug resistant varieties of Bluegrasses, Fescues, and Ryegrasses are also common in preventing Bill Bugs. Click here for a list of companies in your area who can help you control Bill Bugs!
White Grub
White Grub

 

White Grubs

: White Grubs are grass-root eating larvae (infants) of the beetle family such as Japanese and June Beetles. The larvae are generally 1/2-1 1/2 inches in length and look whitish-gray and C-shaped. They are most distinguishable by the three pairs of legs that are located by their brown heads. The most common signs of White Grub problems are dead spots on your lawn that don't recover from watering. Since the larvae feeds on the roots, you can also tell by pulling-up on the dead grass and see if it comes up easily from the roots. If so, it could be White Grubs. Additionally, other signs of white grub problems could be the existence of predatory animals such as birds and moles that feed on the larvae and the presence of adult beetles that fly around your yard and eat at your plants and trees.

  • Getting Rid of Them: The most common insecticides used for White Grubs are Diazinon and Dursban. Other common treatments are: Neem Oil, Nematodes, Milky Spore, and pyrethrins. Click here for a list of companies in your area who can help you control White Grubs!


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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