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Turf Insect Control:  Tips & TricksGrub Control

Lawn pest control like white grubs, chinch bugs and sod webworms can be extremely damaging to your yard. When trying to manage your lawn and reduce pests, turf insects are usually hard to detect because they hide underneath the soil. However, with the right turf insect killing products and approach you can rid these lawn eaters from your yard for good.

Solutions Pest and Lawn carries a wide selection of turf insect control products that target a variety of common turf-eating bugs. Whether you have a minor problem or a large destructive infestation, we have the professional grade products you need. The products we have in stock are the same products used by professionals that you would hire to take care of the turf bugs for you. The products are easy to apply yourself so you don’t need to hire a professional, saving loads of money.

How to Get Rid of Turf Insects: 3 Step Solutions

Eliminating turf insects from your lawn can make for a frustrating chore. However, at Solutions Pest and Lawn we're dedicated to helping you Do-It-Yourself by offering the best products proven to eradicate turf bugs and sharing with you helpful techniques to make the treatment job hassle-free. Here is our 3 step solution to eliminating your turf insect problem.


Step 1: Identify which turf insect you are dealing with. This can be easy or require a little more effort depending on the bug. You may see a turf insect visibly crawling on your lawn. If not you may have to do a little digging in your yard and grab a magnifying lens to see what you have in the soil. If you have trouble identifying which bug you have, contact us by sending us a photo at identification@solutionsstores.com and we’ll not only identify the bug for you, we’ll suggest options on how to rid the insect and what products to use, free of charge.


Step 2: Depending on the insect that has been identified, you will need to use the right control product.or insecticide. We carry liquid insecticides like Reclaim IT and Permethrin as well as granules like Bifen LP Granules. Follow the directions on the label when applying to your lawn.


Step 3: The best way to prevent lawn grubs and other turf insects from returning after you’ve eliminated them with insecticides is to have regular lawn maintenance. Keeping your lawn healthy with routine mowing, watering, fertilization, and aeration can deter certain bugs and help your lawn overcome others.


It’s that simple! If you have any questions or need further assistance, don’t hesitate to call us call us at (800) 479-6583 or contact us via email at askapro@solutionsstores.comBrowse our extensive Knowledge base, view our how-to videos, or talk to us live over the phone and we will give you all the help you need to confidently control and eliminate turf insects from your yard.


Learn more about Turf Insects and Lawn Pest Management

A healthy, well-maintained lawn can be a beautiful asset to your property, but like any other part of the home which requires upkeep, your lawn can encounter problems from a variety of sources. Lawn pests, like aphids and chinch bugs, can eat at your greenery and attack grass blades, and then there are pests that live under the soil, like lawn grubs, which may chomp their way through grassroots and cause your turf to discolor or die out.


It’s pretty easy to spot damaged plants on your lawn, you really can’t miss it: seeing an eyesore of brown or yellowing where it’s supposed to be bright green. However, the hard part is getting to the bottom of what is causing the damage and how to go about treating it. The lawn care experts here at Solutions Pest & Lawn are here to help.


We will cover various turf insects which commonly infest lawns and yards, the symptoms of the damage they inflict as well as offer some tips on how to treat these pests and put a stop to the destruction.


Detecting Turf Insect DamageLawn

When a turf begins to get brown patches or appears discolored or wilted, most homeowners initially believe it’s is because the lawn and plant life is not getting proper nutrition and water or not getting enough sun. Unless it’s plainly seen, it’s usually overlooked that the turf damage is the work of turf insects.


On the other hand, some homeowners may be quick to blame turf damage on lawn insects when it may not necessarily be the case. For instance, planting unsuitable turfgrass on your lawn, or poor lawn maintenance habits, damage arising from pets or foot traffic can be the reason for the lawn damage that’s being seen but can easily be mistaken for insects feeding and doing the damage.


Due to this confusion which may arise, it is important to do some detective work and make sure that the damage is the result of insects. Properly diagnosing the turf damage and distinguishing between whether its a maintenance issue or a turf insect will help you to figure out the proper course of action to take to address the problem.


Erroneously attributing the damage of your lawn to turf insects when they are not the problem can result in unnecessarily applying insecticides which may lead to further damage, risks of toxic exposure and most of all, a waste of money! It should also be noted that most insects you see on your grass may not be damaging to your plant life at all or may actually benefit your lawn so if you see insects on your lawn, depending on what it is, you shouldn’t immediately see it as an issue until they are properly identified.


Inspecting Your Lawn For Turf Insects

Proper inspection of your lawn involves knowing where to look and what to look for so you can determine what action you should take from your findings.


Early detection of turf insect damage on your yardage is key to successfully controlling the lawn pest population before it gets out of control. This can be accomplished by conducting a detailed approach of lawn monitoring via closely checking how the turf is looking and inspecting the plants and parts of the plant for any peculiarities.


For example, if your lawn grass looks like its wilting, losing color or thinning, get a closer look and observe closely to see if you’ll find any feeding scars on the foliage or a tattered look as if the plants have been bitten into.


Probe areas of your lawn where there are damaged patches by scratching beneath the surface, and looking through the thatch for any movement or activity of intruding lawn pests. Another sign to watch for is green pellet material which is what fecal dropping look like of plant-feeding insects such as caterpillars.


Another thing you can do during the inspection is pull on the grass blades themselves. If the plant or grass is able to easily be yanked out without much effort, you may very well be dealing with a turf pest.


One easy way to become certain that you are dealing with turf insects after detecting damage to your lawn is by mixing some soapy water and pouring it over the suspected area. The pouring of this solution should result in whatever turf insect problem you have to come to the surface and out of hiding so they could be collected, observed and properly identified.


Insects that live below the soil may require some digging or cutting out of a piece of your lawn and going at least three inches deep. When a lawn insect infestation is particularly severe, your turfgrass should pull away from the soil very easily almost like rolling up a rug which will show the damaging lawn pests underneath.


The Two Groups of Common Lawn Pests

Knowing which part of your turfgrass is inhabited by turf insects is a vital part of the turf insect control process. Lawn insects can be broadly classified according to where they may be found on the turf. The two may groups which turf insects can fall under can be either above ground or below ground insects. Above-ground lawn pests include caterpillars and chinch bugs which feed on plant stems, crowns and leaves.


These above ground pests often use the layer of thatch to provide cover for them so they can hide away during the day. Many of these insects are closely associated with the thatch layer that provides cover for them during the day. Most above-ground insects are only active at night and can be hard to find in the daytime.


Below ground pests mainly consist of white grubs that feed on plant roots in the soil and do the bulk of their damage underground where they are not openly seen.


Most Common Above Ground Lawn Insects


Armyworms are the larvae phase of several types of moth species which are widely found and distributed. Species most often associated with turfgrass include the common armyworm, the fall armyworm, and the yellowstriped armyworm. These insects are more likely to be nuisances around agricultural crops, but on occasion they may invade residential lawns, especially if these lawns are located in areas that are in close proximity to agricultural fields and farmland.


When found on turf, armyworms can be patchy or scattered. As their name implies, armyworms can appear in large armies and move across large areas of turf. Since they are hardly noticed because of their small size, landowners may not realize they are present until they’ve dealt a significant amount of turf damage.



Cutworms are also the larvae phase of several moth species, but only two species are typically associated with lawn turf. There is the black cutworm and the bronze cutworm. Black cutworms are normally found on closely mowed turf like those on golf courses and are known to cause unsightly pock marks on these types of turf, which can annoy golfers. Bronze cutworms are known to eat turf during the winter season, hidden away by the cover of snow. This results in the bronze cutworm going unnoticed until the snow starts to melt.


Sod WebwormSod webworms

Sod webworms are the larvae stage of several small buff-colored moths that are common during the summer period. The moths are easily observed as they fly from the turf when disturbed, and while the adult moths don’t feed, they do leave leaves in the turf. Sod webworm larvae overwinter and then emerge in the spring. Damage from sod webworms often occurs in sunny areas and may appear as irregular, brown patches.


Chinch BugChinch Bugs

Adult chinch bugs are 1/6th of an inch long and are usually colored black and white. Immature chinch bugs (nymphs) are similar in shape to the adults, but are usually bright orange or red in color and wingless, with a broad white band across the back. Chinch bugs are often found at the move quickly when disturbed and will release a foul odor as a defense mechanism. Both nymphs and adults damage grass by sucking sap from plant tissue and by injecting saliva that destroys these tissues. For this reason, plants may appear to die from the top down, turning yellow and then brown as feeding continues.


Most Common Below Ground Lawn Insects

White GrubWhite Grubs

White grubs are the C shaped larvae of several beetle species such as the Japanese beetle, June beetle among several others. Grubs have a chestnut colored head and 3 pairs of legs that are clearly visible. There back side is slightly larger in diameter than the rest of the body and may appear darker in color due to the soil and organic matter they consume. Lawn grub size may vary considerably depending on the species and age, but late-stage larvae will generally range between 1/4 to 1-1/2 inches long.


As soon as they hatch, white lawn grubs immediately begin to feed. This typically takes place in the summer months for the most common species. Depending on the species involved, grubs may feed and develop for a single year (Japanese beetle, northern and southern masked chafers, European chafer, Oriental beetle, Asiatic garden beetle, green June beetle), several years (May or June beetles), or they may complete their entire life cycle in less than one year.

 Adult Grub

Although the adult forms (beetles) may feed on other plant species, they do not feed on lawn grass. Grubs devour the root system of grass plants and cause the most serious insect-related injury to turfgrasses.


Symptoms of white grub damage usually starts with wilting of the grass and lack of recovery after irrigation or rainfall. Severe lawn grub damage results in dead patches of turf and is usually noticed during late summer and fall. White grub damage can become so severe that it can result in sod which easily pulls-up or becomes dislodged from the soil similar to picking and rolling up a rug which exposes the white grubs beneath. White grubs can also bring damage to the lawn in the form of raccoons, skunks, or flocks of birds foraging for the grubs.


Using Insecticides To Manage Turf Insects

If lawn pests are determined as the cause of damaged turf, a combination of cultural, biological and chemical control options are available. Although insecticides will often provide the most immediate solution, using insecticides in tandem with cultural control measures may provide a more long-term, sustainable solution and should always be considered as part of an integrated management program.


Solutions Pest & Lawn has a variety of Insecticides that can sufficiently eliminate these problem pests, but as we noted earlier, it’s best to properly identify the species of lawn pest you are encountering on your lawn to be pointed to the direction of the proper control product to address the insect.


We should note that while the insecticides we have in stock to a great job of eliminating the insect problem, they cannot magically undo the damage of the turf insects and bring dead grass back to life. In other words, getting rid of the turf insects via insecticide applications will prevent further turf damage, you shouldn’t necessarily expect an overnight improvement in the appearance of the turf.


Even under optimum growing conditions, turf may require several weeks to recover and, if the damage is severe, renovation may still be required in the form of seeding or fertilizing your lawn and other lawn maintenance practices.


After applying a selected insecticide for your specific turf insect problem, it would be wise to monitor closely to see if the desired results have been achieved. While some insecticides may kill the target insects within a relatively short period of time (2 to 3 days), others may be slower to act (taking 2 to 3 weeks). This can especially be the case when below-ground insects are the target.


It is not unusual for biological insecticides to take longer than chemical insecticides to attain maximum efficacy. When an insecticide treatment fails to provide expected results, try to determine the cause. Most insecticide failures can be attributed to the following causes: improper application, improper timing of application or improper irrigation.


• Improper calibration or poorly maintained equipment. Equipment should be calibrated each season. Since every formulation behaves differently, each must be calibrated individually. The labels of homeowner/garden center formulations often contain suggested settings for a range of common application equipment, but equipment must be properly maintained and in good working order for these recommendations to apply.


• Improper timing. Insecticides applied during the wrong time of the season are seldom effective. Insects are vulnerable to insecticides only during key points in their life cycle. It is important to make sure insects are either present or will soon be present in the susceptible stage before applying insecticides. In the case of white grubs, insecticide applications are most effective when they coincide with activity of early instar (young) grubs that are higher in the soil profile.


• Improper irrigation. The labels on most white grub insecticides recommend irrigating with at least 1/4 inch of water immediately after application. This procedure helps wash the chemical off of the granule when a granular formulation is used, or off of the grass canopy when a liquid formulation is used. It also helps to rinse the active ingredient into the soil where the grubs are actively feeding.


A small amount of irrigation or rainfall is always recommended following application of a granular formulation, regardless of the target insect species, in order to release and distribute the active ingredient. Liquid applications targeting surface insects should be left on the surface (not irrigated) for at least 24 hours following application in order to maximize efficacy.


Additional helpful resources:


Commercial Turfgrass Insect Control - UT Extension Institute of Agriculture [PDF]


Insect management - Cornell Turfgrass Program - Cornell University


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