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How to Deal with Lawn Pests: Integrated Pest Management Approach

Posted on July 26th, 2023

Controlling, managing, and eliminating lawn pests can be challenging. Sometimes, homeowners and property managers have yet to try various solutions. Some problems return after using specific treatments, making every effort frustrating.

A Turf Unlimited, we understand your challenges when dealing with lawn pests. For this reason, we provide practical and lasting lawn care solutions so your turf stays healthy and green longer. We use integrated pest management (IPM), a holistic approach to managing and eliminating pests effectively and efficiently.

In this guide, we’ll go over the most common pests that can infest your lawn and how they can be managed efficiently using integrated pest management solutions.

Common Lawn Pests

The first step in integrated pest management is identifying pests that can invade your lawn. Here are some of the most common critters you can find that can cause an infestation:

  1. Grubs

Grubs are one of the most common pests on your lawn and are also one of the critters that do the most damage. Grubs are the larvae of scarab beetle variants, Japanese beetles, and masked chafers. These lawn pests become most active and feed on your grass in the summer and fall. They appear as white, C-shaped, plump creatures you can dig up below the soil surface.

The larva only has a 12-month lifecycle, which means they become a beetle within the same year. Adult beetle variants mate and lay eggs in summer, laying their eggs in the soil. When the eggs hatch into grubs, they feed on grass roots. They burrow further down into the soil as winter approaches. Without proper grub control, they go up again to feed in the summer, damaging roots once more until they develop into mature beetles and repeat the cycle.

Signs of Infestation

Some of the symptoms of a grub infestation you should be aware of include:

  • Wilted grass blades
  • Brown patches of spongy turf that are easy to lift off the soil
  • Grubs appear when you dig the soil using spades
  • Moles, skunks, crows, and other wildlife foraging on your lawn grass (they could be looking for grubs they can eat)
  1. Cutworms

These lawn pests grow up to a couple of inches long and can be gray or brown, the two most common species. These worms are the larvae of moths that have either a dull gray or black marking on their wings.

The adult moths lay their eggs in spring, which you can find on the tips of the grass blades. The nocturnal worms feed during the night and burrow to lay dormant when the sun goes up, which is why many homeowners never notice them. After two to four weeks of feeding on lawn grass, the cutworms turn into moths, and the cycle repeats.

Signs of Infestation

Cutworms can feed on grass blades and will often bite off entire stems in the process. The fallen stems, damaged grass blades, and burrows they make are visible to the human eye, giving you a clue about their presence.

  • Damaged leaves
  • Burrows
  • Cut stems
  • Dead spots on yard grass
  1. Armyworms

These lawn pests can grow one to two inches long and have color variants, including gray, pink, and yellow. They are also moth larvae that were laid on the lawn. Adult moths are easy to spot at night, and they’re attracted to light.

The moths produce around three generations of armyworms, which make them quite challenging to eliminate. They lay eggs during spring and summer in white-colored egg clusters, which homeowners can spot with close inspection. The eggs will hatch within a week after they’re laid. After that, the armyworms will feed on lawn grass for about two weeks until they have become full-grown adults.

Signs of Infestation

The symptoms of an armyworm infestation can be easily spotted since they tend to swarm. They are also nocturnal and burrow underground.

  • Ruined grass from the stems to the leaves
  • Skeletonized leaves on nearby shrubs and other plants
  • They leave circular bare spots on your lawn
  • If you investigate at night, you can sometimes see their movement under the soil
  1. Sod Webworms

These lawn pests don’t just damage grass leaves; they ruin the actual turf. These critters are about an inch long and have a brown or greenish color with black spots. The adult moths that laid the eggs appear in gray to tan color and have a distinctive double snout.

Adult moths can lay up to three generations of sod webworms, usually in spring or summer. They feed on the grass after seven days and wreak havoc at night. The sod webworms take shelter in silken burrows in the grass, which you can find if you search carefully.

Signs of Infestation

Aside from their distinct burrows, it’s also best to pay attention to the following symptoms:

  • They eat everything from the stem to the grass blades
  • You will find large patches of brown on your lawn
  • You can find birds foraging on your property, hunting for these worms
  • Upon close inspection, you can find small tunnels lined with silk
  1. Chinch Bugs

These lawn pests are classified as sap-sucking insects and can be found anywhere in the country. As they feed, they leave excretions that prevent grass from absorbing water.

Mature chinch bugs lay eggs in the spring to early fall, which hatch 20 to 30 days later. The hatchlings, called nymphs, feed on the grass for around six weeks. They look for shelter at the base of the grass stems.

Signs of Infestation

The damage caused by chinch bugs is most visible from June to September, before autumn.

  • They leave irregular dead patches on the turf
  • Grass blades will take on a purple tinge due to the nymph secretions
  • The drying grass is often mistaken for drought

Integrated Pest Management as an Effective Solution

Turf Unlimited uses a holistic approach to efficiently manage and control lawn pests that may have infested your property. The integrated pest management (IPM) approach combines various methods to efficiently control and prevent pest populations from returning. IPM incorporates chemical, cultural, and biological solutions.

It should be distinct from an organic approach to pest management. IPM includes the selective use of pesticides, parasites, and the natural predators of the pests that infest your turf. We use certain pesticides if natural means fail to control pest populations.

IPM offers several crucial benefits when it comes to managing lawn pests:

  • Reduced Pesticide Use: IPM is a greener solution than a purely insecticide or pesticide-based approach. When employed, pesticides are often targeted toward the specific type of pest infesting your property. Our team also makes use of biological controls, which reduce the impact on the environment.
  • Sustainable Agricultural Practices: IPM is a practical approach for lawns and residential properties and can also be applied to farmland experiencing pest infestations. We can use the same techniques to help farmers produce crops better while improving soil quality and integrating ecological practices.
  • Effective Pest Control: IPM can be applied to manage pest populations, reducing them to acceptable levels. Our specialists take into account the specific species living on your turf, their life cycles, and the environmental conditions that sustain their development. We then take a targeted approach that minimizes their development and reduces pest resistance to pesticides. This approach reduces the reliance on insecticides and other harmful substances to the environment.
  • Cost Savings: IPM can help reduce costs in the long run since homeowners don’t need pesticides to eradicate pest populations.

Work with Lawn Care Experts from Turf Unlimited

Turf Unlimited has proudly served homeowners since 1996, providing effective pest management solutions. Our specialists can help you identify the specific type of pests infesting your property and provide efficient lawn care. Contact us today so we can create a custom pest control solution for your lawn.

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