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The Different Types of Pests That Can Invade Your Lawn

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You love your yard and work tirelessly to maintain it. A surprising 79 percent of Americans claim that having a lawn plays a significant role in the home buying process.

You’ll likely spend hours out on the lawn, sometimes sacrificing your weekend or free time. You’ll mow the grass, put down fertilizer, and pull weeds.

After all this work, you expect to be rewarded with a beautiful lawn. However, pests can ruin your efforts.

There are a few types of pests that are common to lawns. Read on to learn how to recognize and deal with them.

Moles

When people think of pests, they usually think of insects or spiders, but moles can be one of the most pervasive and destructive of all lawn pests.

These small animals sport dark brown or black fur and have powerful front paws designed for digging. They mostly eat insects, but that doesn’t mean their presence is always beneficial to you.

Moles are voracious diggers and create networks of tunnels that can span all across your yard. You’ll notice these easily, as they look like little ridges or mounds of dirt in the middle of your grass. Mole tunnels can be ten inches or more below the ground.

Getting rid of moles isn’t easy. Applying a mix of water and castor oil to their tunnel entrances can force them elsewhere, but the most effective way to rid yourself of a mole problem is to use a trap.

Voles

Voles are another burrowing pest found in yards. They are small rodents that closely resemble mice.

These rodents are herbivores. They’ll eat all kinds of plants, including your grass. Their population numbers can fluctuate but expect a population boom every three to five years.

Like moles, voles also create tunnels across your yard. However, vole tunnels are much shallower and smaller. Their tunnels are usually around two inches wide and are near the surface.

Voles make zig-zag patterns with their tunnels. Keep an eye out for these kinds of tunnels if you see partially-eaten plant material around your yard. That’s a sure sign of a vole problem.

In smaller areas, traps are an effective form of pest removal. In larger areas, using a castor oil-based repellant is more efficient.

Chinch Bugs

Chinch bugs are one of the most abundant kinds of lawn pests. These can be particularly destructive to your landscaping efforts, as they love to feast on grass sap.

Spotting chinch bugs is difficult. They’re less than 1/4th of an inch long and are usually dark brown or black in color.

You’ll notice their effects in the summer months. During this time, chinch bug larvae hatch and immediately begin eating your grass. It only takes a juvenile chinch bug around 30 days to reach maturity, so multiple generations can hatch in one summer.

These lawn pests can have a devastating effect on a yard. If chinch bugs infest your yard, the damage can be so severe you might mistake it for drought conditions.

Getting rid of chinch bugs is difficult but doable. Aerate your lawn to break up the thatch layer and water it regularly. You also may need to replant some areas of grass affected by these bugs.

White Grubs

White grubs are beetle larvae. They can mature into scarab beetles, masked chafers, and Japanese beetles. White grubs range in size from 1/4th of an inch to over one inch long. They all have six legs, white bodies, and brown heads.

White grubs hatch in the late summer months. They make their way to the roots of your grass and spend the fall eating these roots. Then, they burrow underground to survive the winter chill. If you don’t stop their lifecycle, fully grown beetles will emerge to lay more eggs the following summer.

It’s easy to spot a beetle infestation, but white grubs are much harder to find. Unfortunately, these larvae do quite a bit of damage to your grass, even if it’s not obvious at first. You might notice your grass thinning or yellowing and attribute it to the changing of the season.

The best way to check for white grubs is to attempt to pull back a section of your grass. Since these larvae eat roots, the grass will roll back, almost like a carpet. You’ll be able to see the grubs on the underside of the turf.

Applying a pesticide to your lawn is the most effective way to curb white grub population growth. Use a grub killer when you notice damage to your lawn and a grub preventer to keep them from coming back.

Armyworms

Armyworms are a kind of caterpillar. There are a few different kinds of species of armyworm, but they all look similar and are all a nuisance.

These caterpillars have smooth skin that is striped green or brown. They are usually between one and two inches long. Eventually, armyworms mature into moths.

As moths, they lay thousands of eggs, usually near food sources like your grass. Once the larvae hatch, they immediately begin feasting. As the larvae mature, the damage they cause becomes more and more noticeable.

Armyworms can be seen methodically moving across your yard, eating blades of grass as they go. This behavior is actually where they get their name. They can decimate a yard, turning it from bright green to barren-looking in just a short month.

Performing regular lawn maintenance is the best way to keep armyworms at bay. They’re attracted to tall grasses and weeds so keep your grass trimmed and pull any weeds. If you’re fighting an infestation of armyworms, pesticides are the best defense.

The Types of Pests Invading Your Yard

Plenty of different types of pests attempt to invade your yard. These include small animals like moles and voles and several different kinds of insects.

Traps are effective at dealing with moles and voles and pesticide is the best way to rid yourself of insects.

Whenever you do yard work, take some time to look for the various signs of pests. The health of your grass is the main indicator.

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