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Pests on Lawns

Select the pest from the images below for more information:

AntsChinch BugsDew WormsSod WebwormsVoles







AntsAntsAnts are mostly beneficial, feeding on other insects and decomposing plant material. They do not feed directly on plants, but rather on plant debris, rotting wood. However, in great numbers, ants can disrupt turf with large hills.

Symptoms:  Will see ants scurrying along, may see hills in lawn if population is high.

Cultural Control:
• Try to locate the hill; if there’s not a clear sign of a hill, try to watch ant activity. You will see them coming and going from a general direction. Poke holes deep into turf in that area, and drench with an extensive amount of water.
• Powder areas of activity heavily with diatomaceous earth.

Chemical Control:
• Drench hills/tunnel areas with Malathion.
• Poke holes and inject with Doktor Doom Residual or Doktor Doom.

Chinch Bugs

Chinch BugPlants affected:  Lawn

Symptoms:  Patchy, dead, yellowing sections in the lawn. To test for presence, shove open ended can into lawn, fill with water, if chinch bugs present they’ll float up.

Life Cycle:  Adults overwinter in tufts of grass, under litter or on leaves in protected areas. Adults emerge in spring, lay eggs on leaves, roots and soil. Insects are most active in hot, dry periods of weather.

Cultural Control:
• Remove excess thatch.
• Heavy rains will drown young nymphs and bury eggs.

Chemical Control:  None registered currently.

Dew Worms

Dew WormsDew WormsPlants affected:  Lawn

Symptoms:  Large bumps in lawn, excavated clumps of dirt.

Life Cycle:  Overwinter in soil, mate in both spring and fall, lay eggs.

Cultural Control:
Dethatch lawn every 2-3 years, aerate annually.
• Topdress lawn with a generous amount of compost in late fall/early spring.
• Maintain even lawn moisture (2.5cm every week); avoid overwatered lawns.
• Apply a thick layer of sand on lawn; sand irritates worms and they will burrow deeper into soil (as opposed to disrupting thatch layer).

Chemical Control:  Currently no registered controls.

Sod Webworms

Sod WebwormsSod WebwormsPlants affected:  Lawn

Small white moths flying in zig zag pattern—mostly at dusk.
• Large infestations will produce yellow/brown spots up to the size of a softball.
• To determine if worms are present, pour a soapy solution over the spot—worms will wriggle up to surface.

Life Cycle:
• Overwinter as young larvae just under soil level. In spring feed on upper root systems, stems and blades of grass.
• Pupate in May in underground cocoons, adults emerge in late May, depositing eggs which hatch in 7-10 days. Second generation of adults comes in August.
• Most severe damage is July/August, when grass is not growing rapidly.

Biological Control:  Water lawns with a solution of beneficial nematodes.

Chemical Control:
BTK or Insecticidal Soap
• Sevin (apply this in evening when larvae are actively feeding). Water lawn well first.
• GrubBuster Nematodes

VolesVole DamageVoles/Moles

Plants affected:  Lawn

Symptoms:  Hills/mounds in lawn and garden.

Cultural Control:  Mole/Vole traps; Molemover emits chatter sounds to keep moles away.

Chemical Control:  Giant Mole Destroyer Sulphur Cartridges; place in burrow and light.