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Turf Insect Protection

White Grubs are found throughout South and feed on the roots of a variety of turf species. Often, grubs are found most in Bermuda and Zoysia grass.  However, turf may be damaged due to other issues. White grubs may be found feeding on the roots just a few inches into the soil.

Beetles lay eggs in turf during early summer. The eggs hatch in the late summer and begin to develop into small larvae, known as grub worms. Grub worms cause damage to lawns by eating the root systems in the early fall months. Insecticides should be used prior to winter in order to best control grub worms.  During the winter months grub worms will dig deeper into the soil making them more difficult to treat.  Once the summer comes back around the grub worms will have reached adulthood, and begin their work on destroying the turf

Billbugs are often found in the South amongst Zoysia and Bermuda grass. When infestations are heavy, roots of grass are destroyed and the turf is killed in irregular patches. Small round spots of damaged grass is a sign or early damage. June and July are when Billbugs are at their most active and do the most damage.  The difference in Billbugs and White Grubs is that the soil usually stays pretty firm.

Adult Billbugs will cut into the stem to lay eggs and feed on plant juices. The larvae eat the plant’s stems and roots that are below ground. It is very important to have a pest management professional inspect patches of dead grass to determine what is causing the damage. To inspect for billbug damage, pull up the dead grass; if it easily comes out of the ground it could be billbug larvae damage to the roots.

Army Worms can be found in the form of a caterpillar before morphing into a moth.  The adult moths are tan or brown, less than an inch long, with a white spot in the middle of each forewing. The larvae are a greenish-brown color and can be found up to 1.5 inches long.  Army Worms can devastate your lawn because they feed on turf grass blades down to the soil.  As they feed, the larvae leave brown patches in the lawn.  The months of August and September are when they are most active.

Armyworms are typically surface feeders, and can easily be controlled if identified early enough. These pests are especially harmful if you have a Fescue lawn. Fescue does not recover from this type of damage as easily as other types of grass.

Fire ants are extremely aggressive and become aggressive when disturbed.  They bite and then sting.  Although the bite is the size of a pinhead it can be painfully sore and itch for some time.  The sting gives off a burning sensation, hence their name Fire ant.  This pest can be especially dangerous to small children and animals.  Mostly the pain these ants cause is painful, but some may have an allergic reaction.

The colonies produce large mounds that are unsightly, and are something no homeowner wants to see in their lawn.  If you see a large mound in your yard and you have small children and pets, make sure to keep them at a distance.  Typically fire ants eat young plants, seeds and occasionally small insects like beetles or crickets.

Fire ants are most active when temperatures are cooler and the ground is moist.  In Memphis and North Mississippi the spring is the best time for treatment.  This will kill the existing colonies and prevent new colonies from establishing for up to a year.

Cut worms - a moth caterpillar that lives in the upper layers of the soil and eats through the stems of young plants at ground level.  The difference in Cutworms and Armyworms; you can tell the difference because armyworms have a distinct “Y” on their foreheads while cut worms are universally described as “greasy-looking”.  Eggs that hatch in the fall can produce larvae capable of surviving winter in the soil or a woodpile. They do the most damage early in the gardening season, when they emerge from hibernation and typically feed during at night

Cut worms chew through plant stems at the base; they are even known to cut off the plant from underneath the soil. In most cases, entire plants will be destroyed.  Cut worms can cause tremendous damage in very little time. If your grass is completely brown, the damage may be extreme.  Call Tri-State Exterminating and Greenlawn to protect your lawn against unwanted pests.

Sod Webworms The first signs of sod webworm feeding are usually in the spring. The chewing activity of the worms removes the tender top growth of the grass and leaves behind thin patches of shorter grass. As they grow, the webworms cause larger areas of brown sod.   They will mostly in dry, sunny areas like curb edges and along driveways.  The worst evidence is seen in late summer, the damage may be mistaken for drought stressed grass that has entered summer dormancy. You can determine it is webworm lawn damage by digging into the thatch and finding the silk lined tunnels.

These tiny pests are the larvae of an unassuming small brown moth. The larval feeding causes dead brown patches in lawns, which may have difficulty recovering. Sod webworm control is focused on the larva and not the adult moths. Call Tri-State Exterminating and Greenlawn to get rid of sod webworms for a healthier and greener lawn.

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