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Pest Identification

If your lawn is showing signs of pest or disease damage, time is of the essence.

Fall Army Worms

Each spring, fall army worm adult moths spread into Virginia from areas where they are continuous pests: Central America, tropical South America, the West Indies, and coast areas of southern Florida and Texas. A single female can produce up to 1000 eggs. These eggs can be laid almost anywhere which makes treatment particularly difficult. The larva, which is the pest stage, is a green, brown, or almost black caterpillar. Larvae also have two distinct black stripes running the length of the body. Fall army worm larvae feed on all above ground plant parts. Damage is most obvious in the late summer and fall.

White Grub

Japanese beetle, and May and June beetle grubs feed on turf grass roots. Much of this feeding occurs close to the soil surface. In extreme cases, damage is so severe that a patch of turf can be easily lifted or rolled up like a rug. Turf that is spongy underfoot may indicate grub activity. Keep an eye out for birds and mammals foraging for grubs in your lawn

Clover mite

The clover mite is small, less than 1mm in size. Adults are usually dark green, with orange-red spots. Sometimes these spots are so numerous the mite has a brick red appearance. Clover mites are active in cool weather and feed on turfgrass leaf tissue. Damaged areas of a blade will appear silvery. Injury will be concentrated within 2 meters of the south and west sides of buildings, trees, and shrubs.

Chinch Bug

In cooler areas, chinch bugs overwinter as adults in leaf litter and dense thatch. In warmer areas of Virginia, they are active throughout the year. In Virginia two generations of this pest occur every year. Adults lay up to 20 eggs per day on your lawn for two to three weeks. As soon as the nymphs hatch they begin to feed. This feeding causes turf to turn yellow, then reddish brown. Chinch bugs damage the turf by removing plant fluids and injecting a toxin as they feed. Look for chinch bugs in turf stands with thick thatch and full sun exposure.

Sod Webworm

Sod webworms moths lay eggs in turf stands at night. Eggs hatch into caterpillars in a week to 10 days. They eat tender above-ground plant tissue. The first sign of a sod webworm infestation may be small brown patches of close-cropped grass. Eventually damage will appear as dead spots 3 to 10 inches in diameter. Damage is often mistaken for disease. Be sure and inspect damaged areas closely, and look for caterpillars resting in silken tunnels. Black cutworm caterpillars are also active at night. When disturbed, moths will fly a short distance in a zig zag pattern.

White grubs and army worms are two of the most aggressive lawn pests in the Richmond area.  In the summer and fall of 2021 we saw the worst army worm invasion in 20 years. If you see army worm damage, or hear about an outbreak in your neighborhood, give us a call so we can schedule a treatment application immediately.  White grub control is included in our premium lawn care package and when applied in mid-may will give you season long control. 

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