Chinch BugsBlissus leucopterus also known as the true chinch bug is a small North American insect in the order Hemiptera and family Blissidae. It is the most commonly encountered member of the genus Blissus, which are all known as chinch bugs. The chinch bug naturally feeds on wild prairie grasses but when the Midwestern states were settled in the nineteenth century and crops of wheat, corn, sorghum and other grains were planted, they adapted well to these new species as habitat and food species. Throughout the 20th century, the chinch bug was a major pest to farmers, as they quickly decimated corn or wheat fields. To deal with this problem, many farmers in the area changed their crops to soybeans, which were not a host to the chinch bug. Today they are mostly a common lawn pest feeding on lawn grasses, and are commonly treated with pesticides and pest-resistant grasses.
Grubs (White)Grubs are dirty white, soft bodied, and robust with a brown head and six well-developed legs, with exception of green June beetle grubs, which do not have well-developed legs. When the turf is lifted to expose the grubs, they usually will be lying on their sides in a C-shaped position. The size of a white grub varies with the species and its age. Full-grown third-instar Japanese beetles and northern masked chafer grubs average slightly over one inch in length. White grub species can be distinguished by examining the grub’s raster pattern. Incredibly destructive, Grubs can often leave large areas of lawns damaged to the point of no return. With severe damage, lawns may need to be re-seeded or sodded. It is best to attempt to both prevent investation and treat active infestations.
Japanese Beetles The beetle species Popillia japonica is commonly known as the Japanese beetle. It is about 15 millimetres (0.6 in) long and 10 millimetres (0.4 in) wide, with iridescent copper-colored elytra and green thorax and head. It is not very destructive in Japan, where it is controlled by natural predators, but in North America it is a serious pest of about 200 species of plants, including rose bushes, grapes, hops, canna, crape myrtles, birch trees, linden trees and others. In addition to the damage this pest offers to leaved vegetation, while in its larva (Grub) stages it is highly destructive to lawns and gardens as it feeds on root structure of grasses and other vegetation. Incredibly destructive, it often leaves large areas of lawns damaged to the point of no return. With severe damage, lawns may need to be re-seeded or sodded. (See also Grubs above)
Mole Crickets They are members of the insect family Gryllotalpidae, in the order Orthoptera (grasshoppers, locusts and crickets). Mole crickets are cylindrical-bodied insects about 3–5 centimetres (1.2–2.0 in) long, with small eyes and shovel-like forelimbs highly developed for burrowing. They are present in many parts of the world and where they have been introduced into new regions, may become agricultural pests. The main damage done by mole crickets is as a result of their burrowing activities. As they tunnel through the top few centimetres of soil they push the ground up in little ridges, increasing evaporation of surface moisture, disturbing germinating seeds and damaging the delicate young roots of seedlings. They are also injurious to turf- and pasture-grasses as they feed on the roots of the grasses, leaving the plants prone to drying-out and damage by use.
Sod Web WormsSeveral species of sod webworms or “lawn moths” commonly infest home lawns. These include the silver-striped sod webworm ( Fissicrambus mutabilis (Clemens)) the bluegrass sod webworm ( Parapediasia teterrella (Zincken)), and the larger sod webworm ( Pediasia trisecta (Walker)). Over the past few years, we have observed another sod webworm species, burrowing sod webworm (Acrolophus popeanellus (Clemens)). On warm, balmy evenings, you may notice a group of pale-brown moths with prominent “snouts” taking flight over turfgrass. Sod webworm larvae can cause major damage to residential turfgrass, especially during periods of drought. The mature larva is about ¾ inch long, brown to green with darker spots on the surface of its body, and has a long setae rising from the dark spots and mottled brown head capsule.
Cut WormsCutworms (and Armyworms) are moth larvae that hide in a lawn's thatch during the day, then come out at night to feed. They chew off grass blades close to the ground. The worms are 1-1/2 to 2 inches long, with fat brown, gray, or black bodies; some are spotted or striped. You may see them curl up in the thatch if you peel back a section of damaged turf. Cutworms leave 1 to 2-inch-wide spots of brown grass with the blades chewed evenly along the edges or eaten off at soil level. But because they are surface feeders, they are relatively easy to control. Cutworm and armyworm larvae chew and cut leaves around the crown. Damage begins in small, irregular spots and spreads to patches extending many feet in width. Armyworms, especially, prefer moist areas.
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