Six Common Pests That Are Harming Your Lawn

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Fire ants on a branch

on May 3, 2017 by TruGreen

It’s a classic rivalry: You versus The Pest. As you do everything in your power to keep your lawn healthy, these common pests bite and burrow their way through your hard work. But it’s time to step up and be the hero that your lawn deserves. Check out some of the most common pests that harm your lawn and find out how to defeat them for good.

Leatherjackets (European Crane Flies)

If you’re finding big patches of damaged, yellow or thin grass this spring, European crane flies may be the bug to blame. More specifically, it’s the crane larvae that do the damage. These larvae, commonly known as leatherjackets, are responsible for eating up healthy grass roots and stems. 

To help reduce damage to your lawn, consider an all-natural treatment that applies beneficial nematodes to the lawn in the spring to help reduce the infestation. If you begin to find clusters of these brown, worm-like larvae later in the year, a nematode treatment can take care of the infestation before the larvae have a chance to overwinter in your lawn. 

Another popular method for controlling this pest is natural predator control. Leatherjackets are a favored snack for birds, but keep in mind that birds can also damage your lawn by pecking, digging and scratching. 

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, more crane flies are found in areas with unhealthy or poorly established turf. In order to keep your lawn free from crane fly larvae, make sure to maintain a healthy lawn by ensuring proper soil drainage and regularly removing thatch build-up. 

Fire ants

Nothing stings quite like the realization that fire ants have claimed your yard as their turf. These pests are a major nuisance, building massive and unsightly mounds across your lawn. They’re also aggressively territorial and have a painful bite and sting, making your yard a dangerous place for pets and children. The mounds built by fire ants also do damage to your lawn by exposing grass roots and creating an uneven surface.

Once fire ants begin to build mounds in your yard, they will continue to build more. That’s why it’s important to treat your yard with an application that will upend the ant colony by destroying its queen and prevent resettlement across the entire yard. 

To protect your family and your lawn, TruGreen offers two methods for controlling a fire ant infestation. By treating both your entire lawn and targeting specific mounds with a safe granular product, TruGreen fire ant control services will protect against future infestation for up to a year.

Armyworms

Don’t be fooled by this misnomer -- armyworms aren’t worms at all. These caterpillars love to munch away at grass blades, which makes your lawn a top dining destination. If your lawn looks ragged, or if your garden’s leaves are stripped bare, there’s a good chance a pack of armyworms is marching through your grass. 

Keep an eye out for grayish-green caterpillars with a striped pattern running down the length of their bodies. Because armyworms typically feed at night, check under loose soil and fallen leaves during the day. If you do discover armyworms, simply handpick the pesky insects and drop them it into a container of soapy water. This method, combined with regular attention to the condition of your grass, should keep the armyworm population under control.

Chinch bugs

Chinch bugs will literally suck the life out of your lawn, piercing the blades and feeding on their moisture. These minuscule insects reproduce in astounding numbers, allowing them to wreak havoc over large patches of grass and sometimes even an entire lawn. What’s worse, they can attack several times in one season. Chinch bugs find hot and dry conditions ideal, making them a common pest in the summertime. 

The most common sign of chinch bug damage is large, brown patches in your lawn. Sometimes, chinch bugs can cause permanent damage that’s only repairable with a seeding or sodding treatment. So if you suspect you have a chinch bug infestation, the right kind of protection and lawn care is essential. 

Because chinch bugs are so small, an infestation can be difficult to identify. That’s where professional help can make a huge difference in ensuring your lawn stays healthy! TruGreen offers preventative chinch bug control applications that fight off the troublesome pest before they even begin feeding on your lawn, as well as follow-up treatments to help eliminate existing infestations. 

Mole Crickets

These burrowing bugs are a common issue for lawns in the southern region of the U.S. Mole crickets create tunnels just under the surface of soil and eat up the roots of your lawn, uprooting and drying out grass blades in the process. If you spot mounds of dirt and dried out patches across your lawn, mole crickets might be the cause of your lawn damage. But don’t expect to see the culprit in person, as the mole crickets feed at night and primarily live underneath the soil.

One measure to prevent a mole cricket infestation is keeping your lawn clear of heavy layers of thatch. Thatch creates an attractive environment for mole crickets to overwinter and reproduce. One effective way to manage thatch is through a lawn aeration service, which enhances thatch breakdown by exposing the lawn to the nutrients and water it needs.

Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes, the most hated summertime pest, suck the fun out of everything. While mosquitoes don’t do physical damage to your lawn’s turf, they make it challenging to fully enjoy your outdoor space. 

There are a few preventative measures you can take at home to discourage mosquitoes from hanging around your yard. Remove sources of standing water around your lawn, checking empty flowerpots, trash cans, tires and other scrap materials. 

More often than not, home remedies for repelling mosquitoes simply don’t cut it. To eliminate mosquitoes from your yard, our specialists will apply TruGreen Mosquito Defense. Monthly applications of this mosquito control formula will eradicate mosquitoes in your yard within 24 hours of the first application, guaranteed. Don’t give up your life outside -- banish mosquitoes for good!

TruGreen Can Help Put Pests to Rest

TruGreen® PhD-certified specialists are ready to put together a treatment plan that’s customized specifically for your lawn, taking into account surrounding vegetation and household pets. In addition to treatment services for specific types of pests, our TruShield Lawn Pest Control service works to eliminate a wide range of existing pests and prevent future infestation.

If you’re interested in maintaining a healthy lawn that deters pests from overwintering and breeding, we can help with that, too! To learn whether a TruGreen lawn care service plan is right for you, visit TruGreen.com or call 800.464.0171 today.

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