Lawn Pests

Lawn pests include pests that damage or feed on lawns or turf grasses and also pests found in our lawns.
Pests found in
lawns may not actually harm the turf grass but are a pest to humans or pets.
Products labeled for killing molecrickets (a pest of lawns) often are labeled for other pests found in the lawn such as ticks and fleas.
Slugs and Snails Slugs (that's a snail pictured) prefer moist environments, they feed at night and hide during the day to avoid predators and to protect themselves from the sun.  They hide in soil crevices, holes, under leaves, boards and debris.  Slugs are usually light gray or black.  They feed on leaves, stems, flowers and fruits close to the ground such as strawberries, tomatoes, artichokes.  Damage to plants is usually seen as irregular holes with smooth edges or a scar on the leaf surface.  Small seedlings in the garden can be especially inviting to these creatures.
Chinch Bugs

The adult stage of the chinch bug is black with white wings.  Some adult chinch bugs have short non functional wings.  This lawn pest develops through five nymphal stages or instars.  First and second instars of the southern chinch bug are bright orange while the third and fourth instars are dark red and the final instar is black, closely resembling the adult chinch bug.

The development of the chinch bug is affected by temperature variation where eggs are laid.  These eggs can hatch as quickly as several days during the heat of the summer to more than a month if laid during cooler spring days.  Chinch bug nymphs can develop from four to six weeks during summer months.  The southern chinch bug can produce anywhere from three to seven generations, depending on location and temperature.

Bifen IT Concentrate, Talstar Concentrate, Talstar Granules
Timing is of utmost importance when treating for molecrickets.  Many people will treat for this pest during the mating season, due to the sight of adults, their exit holes and damaged turf grass.  This damaged grass is usually due to a fungus that pops up a week or two after spring application of weed & feed fertilizers.  (Nitrogen in fertilizer feeds grass fungi.)
In the Florida panhandle (for example), adults are seen in February and March.  Treatment to kill the damaging nymphs should not begin until the last of April or first week of May.
In middle Georgia, this treatment begins 3 to 4 weeks later.
Trying to kill adult molecrickets during mating season is usually fruitless.  Treating for nymps is very effective and will help save your lawn.
Adult mole crickets are plump, winged and 1 to 1.25 inches long. They are seldom seen, because, like moles, they stay underground most of the time.
The adult cricket can fly and mates twice a year: once in spring and again in the fall.
During the mating seasons you can easily see their exit holes that are about an inch in diameter or slightly larger.
Mole cricket nymphs are wingless but look like small adults. The nymphs can become numerous and cause great damage to turf grasses during the warm summer months.
Their damage appears as brown spongy areas within normal green, healthy grass.  While inspecting, you will notice the grass has been eaten just below the surface.  This is due to the molecrickets feeding separates the plant from its roots.
Mole crickets are especially fond of Bermuda and centipede grass, but have also been found in St. Augustinegrass.
At this time, insecticides that contain Bifenthrin (at professional strength) are the best for controlling molecrickets.  Bifen IT and Talstar are examples of professional strength Bifenthrin.
Adult (moth) Sod Web Worms

Sod webworms are caterpillars of small brown to dull gray moths. Webworms grow to a length of nearly 3/4 inch and vary in color from pinkish white to yellowish brown with a light to dark brown or black head. They are covered with fine hairs. The moths have a wingspan of about 3/4 inch. They fold their wings closely about their bodies when at rest and have a prominent forward projection on the head. Moths hide in shrubbery or other sheltered spots during the day. They fly over the grass in early evening. The female scatters eggs over the lawns as she flies.

Sod webworms feed only at night. Damaged grass blades appear notched on sides and are chewed raggedly. Irregular brown spots are the first signs of damage. Large areas of grass may be damaged severely. A heavy infestation can destroy a lawn in only a few days. Insecticide application should be timed for treatment during early evening hours when caterpillars begin feeding on the surface of the turf.

Fleas and Ticks Fleas and ticks are the most important external parasites of pets, livestock and humans.  Both fleas and ticks are very abundant, have irritating bites and are capable of transmitting disease

Fleas are capable of transmitting tapeworms.  Ticks are capable of transmitting Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and relapsing fever.  Lyme disease is transmitted in the United States by the deer tick, black legged, Gulf coast, American dog, lone star and relapsing fever tick.  Lone star and American dog tick can cause tick paralysis.
Fire Ants Control fire ants by using either ant bait or contact insecticides, but never use both at the same time.
When baiting a property for fire ants, use the bait as a stand-alone product.
Contact insecticides will contaminate ant baits,  which will repel ants from eating the bait.

Fire ant baits can be broadcast over entire foraging area or applied around existing mounds.
Applying ant bait directly to a mound usually results in failure to control the problem, as ants would consider particles dropped on their mound as an aggressive act.  Baits placed in areas around existing mounds will be found by foraging workers and taken back to the colony for distribution.

Contact insecticides can be used two ways, outdoors:
1. Broadcast the insecticide over area using a hose-end sprayer.
2. Drench each fire ant mound or bed using a bucket or watering can.
For best results, use both broadcast and mound drenching.  The size of the area to be treated, access to running water and number of fire ant colonies usually dictate which method to use.

Mound drenching is an effective way to exterminate a fire ant colony.  Use at least one gallon of mixed solution per foot of ant mound diameter.  Slowly drenching the mound with a weak insecticide solution will soak deep inside the mound, killing thousands of fire ants.  Merely spraying the mound with a pump type sprayer will not flood the mounds' galleries as will the drench method.
Grubs An understanding of the cycle of the White Grub is important before beginning your control measures.  Without a plan or control program the numbers of white grubs in lawns will increase as will their damage to lawns, turf grass, golf courses and other grasses in areas such as pastures or graze lands.  The basic biology and cycle of this lawn pest as it matures will help you time your pesticide application.  Without proper timing, the application of pesticides will either work poorly or result in failure to control the lawn grub problem.
Moles Moles have soft fur, a pointed nose or snout and broad, powerful, clawed feet; their front feet enable them to quickly maneuver through the soil, tunneling as they search for food. Moles have larger and deeper runs and  feed on young insects (including molecrickets), grubs, worms.  On their never ending quest for food, this animal's tunneling activity disrupts our lawns and gardens, separating the plant roots from the soil. Without root to soil contact, the grass or plant can obviously die where extensive tunneling is present.
The plants are not being eaten by the animal; the tunneling kills plants.  These furry little creatures love areas where grub and insect populations are high.
Whiteflies Whiteflies (or white flies) are pests of ornamentals.  Products listed here are for killing whiteflies, controlling or preventing infestations on shrubs, trees, ornamental plants.
Systemic insecticides containing Imidacloprid can be used to drench soil  around trunk of plants, allowing active ingredient to be transmitted from roots to leaves.