Common Lawn Pests

There are many common lawn pests that may attack your lawn. I will address some of the more common pests that you may come across when dealing with your lawn. Lawns are attacked every year by both lawn diseases, as well as lawn pests. All of these can effectively be dealt with after first confirming exactly what the problem is. This article will introduce some of the most common pests that attack lawns.

First, common among the pests of lawns is the group of insect larvae called White Grubs. These worms are actually the larval stages of certain beetles. Such beetles as the Japanese beetle, May and June beetles, Oriental beetle, European chafer, among others. They are fat, sluggish, and white-bodied, with yellowish brown heads and legs. They get to be from ¾ to 1 ½ in. Long. Control of these and the following lawn pests can be had by use of sevin or diazinon.


Cutworms are larvae of several varieties of night flying moths, and are mostly nocturnal feeders chewing off leaves of grass. They get their name because they cut down young  plants as they feed on stems at or below the soil surface. Some varieties move up and down foliage feeding on buds and foliage. The adults do not cause any damage to plants.

Sod webworms are the larvae of certain small moths,”millers”, that attack lawns. They are about ¾ to 1 inch long with dark shiny brown heads, but their colors may change from greenish to beige, brown or gray, depending on their species. The adults are buff-colored or grayish-brown moths with a wingspan of about an inch. They fly in the early morning or late evening in a jerky zigzag pattern above the lawn. They are known as a “lawn moths”. They are attracted to lights at night and are found throughout the US. These young caterpillars skeletonize the grass leaves.

Another pest of lawns are the chinch bugs. According to the Agri Life Extension service of Texas A&M, “the life cycle includes various stages, all of which damage lawns. The adult chinch bugs are almost 3/16 inch long, have black bodies and fully developed wings that appear frosty-white with triangular black patch-like markings at the middles of the outer margins. Adults appear as either long-winged or short-winged forms. They have five growth stages that they go through. They go from red to orange to black and then develop wing pads. Chinch bugs are mostly found in St. Augustine grass, but also include Bermuda grass, Bahiagrass, Centipede, and Zoysia grass.

Chinch Bug Damaged Lawn

In turfgrass areas, injury typically appears as yellow or dead drought-stressed or heat-stressed spots in the yard, most commonly in July and August. Infestations are usually initially localized because chinch bugs feed in aggregates. Injured plants occur in spots or patches that enlarge as they migrate by walking to neighboring lawns or turf areas in search of suitable host plants. Chinch bugs can be collected from infested plants by flotation. A coffee can, with both ends removed can be forced into the soil through turfgrass thatch and filled with water. They will float to the top of the surface.

Moles and earthworms, though useful in some respects, can be a great nuisance on lawns. The moles are a nuisance because they tunnel beneath the surface and throw up heaps of excavated soil. The earthworms can get to where they heap the lawn up with little heaps of soil or worm casts. Moles must must be caught with special spring traps set across their runs. They can be kept out of a lawn by surrounding it with naphthalene moth balls dropped into hole 4 in. Deep and 4 to 6 in. Apart.

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