Lawn Pests (Insects)

To determine the type of pest, drench the affected area with water. The pest should then surface. If this does not bring out the pest, drench and cover the affected area with a damp towel and leave overnight. Remove the towel in the early morning. If no pests are found, refer to the lawn diseases section of our website.


Armyworms, Cutworms

(Pseudaletia unipuncta, Peridroma saucia, Agrotis spp.)

Damage appearance

Lawn brown; leaves chewed or missing.

Cultural Control

Reduce thatch; eliminate soggy areas; overseed lawn.

Chemical Control

Contact H.B.D. Distributors and Crop Care (http://www.hbdcc.co.za) for all your pesticide requirements.

Notes

It occasionally damages turfgrass. They are more common on golf courses and other Bermuda grass areas than on home lawns. Mature larvae are 25-40mm long and greenish with dark stripes. Unlike webworms, fall armyworms feed during the day and occur earlier in the year. The life cycle and damage symptoms are similar to webworms.


Billbugs

(Sphenophorus spp.)

Damage appearance

Brown, thin,dying grass, beginning in small, irregular spots that can spread to patches extending many meters in width.

Cultural Control

Irrigate and fertilize adequately; increase mowing height.

Chemical Control

Contact H.B.D. Distributors and Crop Care (http://www.hbdcc.co.za) for all your pesticide requirements.


Black Turfgrass Ataenius

(Ataenius spretulus)

Damage appearance

Brown, dying grass, few roots; lawn is easily peeled off soil.

Cultural Control

Increase mowing height; aerate to improve root growth.

Chemical Control

Contact H.B.D. Distributors and Crop Care (http://www.hbdcc.co.za) for all your pesticide requirements.


Fiery Skipper

(Hylephila phyleus)

Damage appearance

25-50mm-diameter spots of lawn turn brown; spots may join to form large, irregular dead patches; leaves chewed or missing.

Cultural Control

Reduce thatch; overseed with grass species that are not preferred.

Chemical Control

Contact H.B.D. Distributors and Crop Care (http://www.hbdcc.co.za) for all your pesticide requirements.


Lawn moths, Sod webworms, Tropical sod webworm

(Crambus sperryellus, Tehama bonifatella, Herpetogramma phaeopteralis)

Damage appearance

Lawn brown; leaves chewed or missing.

Cultural Control

Reduce thatch; irrigate and fertilize appropriately.

Chemical Control

Contact H.B.D. Distributors and Crop Care (http://www.hbdcc.co.za) for all your pesticide requirements.


Southern chinch bug

(Blissus insularis)

Damage appearance

Irregular patches of lawn turn yellowish, then brown and begin dying during hot weather.

Cultural Control

Reduce thatch; reduce nitrogen fertilization; irrigate adequately; plant resistant varieties such as Floralawn, Floratam, or FX-10 if growing St. Augustinegrass.

Chemical Control

Contact H.B.D. Distributors and Crop Care (http://www.hbdcc.co.za) for all your pesticide requirements.

Notes

Adults are 5mm long and black with white patches on their wings. The nymphs range from 1mm to nearly adult size. They are reddish with a white band across their backs but become black as they mature. The nymphs pass through five instars, requiring four to five weeks to reach adulthood.

Chinch bugs withdraw the plant sap with piercing-sucking mouthparts, causing yellowish to brown patches in the turfgrass. Injury is more prevalent in full sun and under dry conditions. When chinch bugs are present in sufficient numbers to cause noticeable damage (2 per square meter) they can be found by parting the grass at the margin of the off-color areas. Examine at least three or four places in suspected areas. If chinch bugs are the problem, they will be crawling on the soil surface.


White grubs–immatures of Masked chafers

(Cyclocephala spp.)

Damage appearance

Brown dying grass; lawn can be rolled up if heavily infested.

Cultural Control

Irrigate and fertilize appropriately; overseed lawn.

Chemical Control

Contact H.B.D. Distributors and Crop Care (http://www.hbdcc.co.za) for all your pesticide requirements.


May and June beetles

(Phyllophaga spp.)

Damage appearance

Brown dying grass; lawn can be rolled up if heavily infested.

Cultural Control

Irrigate and fertilize appropriately; overseed lawn.

Chemical Control

Contact H.B.D. Distributors and Crop Care (http://www.hbdcc.co.za) for all your pesticide requirements.


Mole crickets

(Neocurtilla hexadactyla)

Damage appearance

Brown, dying grass, few roots; lawn is easily peeled off soil.

Cultural Control

Increase mowing height; aerate to improve root growth.

Chemical Control

Contact H.B.D. Distributors and Crop Care (http://www.hbdcc.co.za) for all your pesticide requirements.

Notes

Tunnels visible, usually 5-10mm in diameter. Adults are about 25-30mm long, light-brown, and have forelegs well adapted for tunneling through the soil. They damage all grasses, but Bahia and Bermuda grasses are their favorite hosts. Their damage is primarily mechanical: they tunnel through the soil near the surface, severing the roots and uprooting the grass .


Ground pearls

(Margarodes and Eumargarodes spp.)

Chemical Control

Contact H.B.D. Distributors and Crop Care (http://www.hbdcc.co.za) for all your pesticide requirements.

Notes

Each female lays about 100 eggs, which hatch into crawlers. The crawlers locate grass roots, feed, molt, shed their legs, and secrete a cream-colored, scaly covering which completely encloses their bodies. They become spherical and are gray or brown. They appear very much like small pearls. They insert their long, slender threadlike mouthparts into the grass roots to withdraw plant juices. The nymphs vary in size, ranging from a grain of sand to about 1.5mm in diameter when they are mature.

The adult female pearls are wingless, about 1.5mm” in length, pink, and have well-developed front legs. There is one generation per year. Severely infested grass turns yellow, then brown. It requires large numbers of pearls to damage the grass, and control is usually not justified.


Frit Fly

(Oscinella frit)

Chemical Control

Contact H.B.D. Distributors and Crop Care (http://www.hbdcc.co.za) for all your pesticide requirements.

Notes

Adult Frit fly are very small, only 2-3mm long, and shiny black in colour. Very small cream coloured, elongate eggs are laid in small groups at the base of shoots, often on the underside of the first leaf sheath. Larvae are yellowish-white in colour and are more or less evenly rounded at both ends. The front is normally slightly more pointed and the rear slightly more rounded. They possess two small tubes at the rear end (visible only when magnified) and are up to 5mm long when fully grown. Pupae are red-brown and often found within the damaged area of the plant.

Risk of attack by Frit fly can be reduced significantly by employing certain cultural techniques. Leaving a gap of 10 weeks between the previous grass crop, or grassy stubble, and drilling a cereal crop will reduce the risk significantly. Leaving a gap of at least 4 weeks between ploughing and drilling will help reduce the risk of attack. Spring oats should be drilled by mid-February in south-west England and by the end of March at latest elsewhere.