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Common Lawn Insects & How To Identify Them

Keeping An Eye On Insects

Lawn insects can become quite a nuisance and ultimately can cause an enormous amount of damage in a short period of time if not identified and treated. The biggest struggle in identifying lawn insects is that the damage can often be mistaken for symptoms of other problems such as dormancy and drought. Understanding the difference between the most common lawn insects can help you to quickly diagnose the problem and treat your lawn accordingly.


White Grubs

White Grubs are small, plump, white larvae that can devastate your lawn. They live beneath the soil and actually chew off the roots of the grass plants. They are C-shaped, have a brown head and three large pairs of legs. After they destroy the grass roots, the lawn will appear unhealthy often with yellow patches, and the grass will be able to roll back like a carpet since the root system has been eaten away. Other common symptoms include animals, like skunks and racoons, digging up the lawn and birds feeding in search of Grubs.
 
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Bill Bugs

Adult Bluegrass Bill Bugs are blackish grey in colour with hard bodies and about 5mm in size. The adults survive in the thatch layer during the growing season and may cause minor damage to the lawn by chewing holes in grass blades. However, the majority of damage is caused by their larvae.

By late June, the females begin laying their eggs. The larvae hatch and then feed of the grass plants. The larvae are legless with fat, whitish bodies and brown heads. Serious damage may occur in the summer if not treated, causing brown patches that will then fill in with weeds and crabgrass.
 
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Chinch Bugs

Chinch Bugs have reddish brown bodies in their youth stages and mature into black and white colored adults. Chinch Bugs are very small insects that live above the soil and can often be seen by peering between the grass blades. They feed on living grass by piercing their mouthpart (similar to a mosquito) into the blades, leaves or stems to suck the juices out of the plant. For this reason, the damage often looks similar to drought symptoms, however additional watering will not help remedy this problem.
 
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Caterpillars (Armyworms, Cutworms and Sod Webworms)

This group of common lawn insects are the larvae of their adult form of moths. The adult moths emerge from the lawn usually in late spring and fly around during the evening hours, laying their eggs. The larvae then begin to feed on the grass blades similar to other common insects. One common sign is having birds frequently return to your lawn to feed on these insects. Again, the damage can often look similar to symptoms of dryness and many homeowners mistakenly assume the lawn only requires water to restore it’s lush appearance.
 
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