While healthy Florida lawns are some of the most beautiful anywhere, they are also extremely prone to attack by lawn pests. The most common lawn pests include:
- Chinch Bugs
Tiny, at about ⅛ to ¼ inches in length and difficult to see, chinch bugs have distinct black, white and red spotted coloring, hard bodies, and wings that fold over their backs. All West Florida lawns contain small populations of chinch bugs with no problems but in large numbers, chinch bugs can cause damage that looks like drought damage as these tiny bugs feed on your grass, injecting a toxin that prevents turfgrass from absorbing nutrients and moisture from the soil.
- Sod Webworms/Armyworms
A major agricultural pest, sod webworms/armyworms, the larval stage, or caterpillars of Spodoptera mauritia moths, sod webworms/armyworms are gray-green and about an inch long. You can see these pests curled up on grass surfaces during the day. Sod webworms/armyworms can undermine the foundation of your lawn, feeding rabidly on grass blades. Damage includes sections of grass separating from your lawn and/or brown irregular thinning of your lawn.
- Mole Crickets
Tunneling in your lawn, particularly in Bahia lawns, might be mole crickets. Causing serious problems in Florida lawns, mole crickets kill grass tearing up the roots and munching on shoots of grass. These pests can be any of three mole crickets that are native to the southeast.
- Tawny – Tan-colored, measure 1½ - 2 inches in length
- Southern – Dark brown to almost black, with four light dots on their heads, measure 1 - 1 ½ inches in length
- Short-winged – Dark to reddish-brown, with small wings and a u-shaped opening between their claws on their forelegs, measure 1 - 1 ½ inches in length
- Fire Ants
While red imported fire ants build unsightly mounds on lawns, they are considered more of a threat to humans, livestock and pets, than as a lawn destroying pest. Stinging in numbers, fire ants can cause a severe allergic reaction in sensitive people. Mark mounds and contact a local pest control company to schedule an appointment.
A detergent test, also commonly known as a drench test, can reveal the presence of some of these pests in your lawn. In most cases, lawns can recover with healthy lawn practices and proper watering. Contact Pestwise to schedule a visit for lawn spraying and treatment of anything attacking your beautiful West Florida lawn. Our treatment program includes guidance as to what changes in lawn care and watering are needed.
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