Dealing With Pesky Summer Lawn Pests

Intense heat and humidity, as well as non-stop rain can lead to a number of problems in the summer lawn. Conditions are perfect for insect pests, and diagnosis can be tricky if you don’t know what to look for. This article will explain how to differentiate and diagnose the various summer lawn problems you may encounter, with detailed instructions explaining how to remedy each.

Chinch Bugs

The first pest you need to look for is the Chinch Bug. If you have St. Augustine grass, be on the lookout for circular, straw colored patches that are crispy and brittle. Damage usually arises first in water-stressed areas such as those in full sun, but it won’t take long for this rapidly reproducing insect to spread across your entire lawn if left untreated. St. Augustine grass planted in particularly sandy, well-drained soil that is prone to drying out is most susceptible to Chinch Bugs. Amending your soil prior to laying sod will help prevent future pest problems.

Chinch Bugs are teeny tiny and tend to burrow beneath the soil which makes them nearly impossible to spot with your naked eye. If you notice these straw colored patches in your lawn, bring us a sample. The sample should be at least 12″ x 12″ in size and include both healthy and afflicted grass, in other words, a transition zone. Roots, dirt, and all!

Once your diagnosis is confirmed it’s time to start your treatment protocol. First, apply Surrender and wait 7-10 days before following up with Grub Free Zone. Note: Surrender does not need to be watered in. Water Grub Free Zone in thoroughly (.5″ to 1″ of water) immediately after applying. Apply Surrender every 7-10 days, while Grub Free Zone should be applied once every 30-60 days until the pest has been eliminated.

Sod Webworms & Armyworms

Next on the list is the ravenous Sod Webworm & Armyworm. Over a 14 day period, if left unchecked, these worms can devour the entire lawn. The sooner you act, the better! These pests feed on all three of the major sod varieties: St. Augustine, Centipede, and Zoysia. One of the first signs of an impending webworm infestation is the appearance of moths hovering a few inches over the lawn at night. If you notice these moths in your yard, it means they’re laying eggs that will soon hatch into hungry, hungry worms. If you act quickly, you can save your lawn before the worms begin to feast. In the photo below, you will see typical Sod Webworm damage – chewed, mangled blades that look as if they have been grazed by a flock of sheep! There is typically a defined delineation between healthy and pest-infested grass. To treat this damage, use the same method mentioned above, cycling between Surrender and Grub Free Zone until September or October, depending on the seriousness of the problem and whether or not your neighbor’s lawn is also afflicted.

Mole Crickets

This year, we’ve been finding Mole Crickets everywhere! So what can you do? Well, first you’ll want to confirm that you’re dealing with Mole Crickets. If you’ve noticed brown patches of lawn with grass that seems to “melt” away, take a few moments to walk outside and rake your fingers through the brown patches. If the brown blades of grass break free easily and have no roots, Mole Crickets are the most likely culprit!
Grub Free Zone is quite effective when it comes to controlling juvenile Mole Crickets. Each bag of this granulated insect control covers 5,000 square feet of lawn. Use a fertilizer spreader to distribute the product evenly across the lawn, and follow up with about .5″ to 1″ of water. If you neglect to water after application, the Grub Free Zone will not be effective; so don’t forget to continue checking your lawn as you may need to reapply.
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