How to Rid Your Lawn of Pests

A cute mole emerging from a lawnThe road to a green, healthy lawn is fraught with hazards.

One week, you might be battling weeds. The next, you’re not getting enough rain. A few weeks later, you’re getting too much rain.

And then there are lawn pests. No matter how big or how small, they can end up doing some serious damage to your turf.

In this blog post, we’ll look at how you can tell whether you’ve got lawn pests and offer up a few lawn pest control tips.

1. Lawn pest control: Moles

You might think moles are cute, but you really don’t want them burrowing under your grass. You’ll know you’ve got a mole problem if you see little mounds of soil and raised ridges snaking through your grass. The soil mounds mark the places where moles push dirt up to the surface in their quest for insects, grubs and worms.

You can chase moles away with some castor oil – or a castor oil-based mole repellant. Mix six ounces of castor oil and two tablespoons of an oil-based or vegetable-based detergent into a gallon of water. Put this mixture in a spray bottle or hose sprayer and saturate the area where the moles are digging.

This mixture won’t kill the moles, but it will make them itch and cause an upset stomach and get them to seek a more agreeable feeding spot. (The same remedy works for voles, small rodents that burrow under your lawn in winter.)

Also, try to avoid overwatering your lawn. Moles have an easier time digging through damp soil.

2. Lawn pest control: Japanese beetles

Japanese beetles are easy to spot thanks to their green and gold shells. Their grubs are a different story. You may not see them, but they’ll announce themselves by eating your grass roots, creating patches of dead lawn in the process.

The most effective lawn pest control for getting rid of Japanese beetles is to just hand pick them and drop them in a bucket of soapy water.

When dealing with grubs, you can employ a product called milky spore, a natural bacteria that kills grubs. When those grubs decompose, their bodies create billions of new spores in the soil, helping wipe out other grubs.

3. Lawn pest control: Webworms

Like vampires, webworms hide during the day and emerge at night to feed. You’ll know they’ve invaded your lawn when you begin to see apple-sized brown patches in the grass. And they’re prolific: a single worm can lay up to 200 eggs.

You can root them out by pouring a water and dish soap solution to bring them to the surface and scooping them up with a rake. Irrigate your lawn well after applying soapy water.

4. Lawn pest control: Mole crickets

If webworms are like vampires, mole crickets are closer to something out of the Godzilla universe, like a lobster crossed with a grasshopper.

They’re called mole crickets because they burrow under the grass, damaging the roots. Applying insecticides in June or July can kill cricket nymphs. You can also check for these nymphs early in the season by flushing them out using a soap/water solution. Again, irrigate your lawn well after using the soapy water method.

5. Lawn pest control: Chinch bugs

Chinch bugs are small, blackish grey insects with white wings. But they’re tiny – less than half an inch long – which means you may not be able to spot these identifying marks. You may not spot them at all: Their size and coloring makes it easy for chinch bugs to camouflage themselves in your lawn.

What you will see is the destruction they leave in their wake: patches of dead, dry grass. You can seek out chinch bugs by getting down on your hands and knees and pulling the thatch apart on your lawn at several different spots, watching carefully for the bugs.

You can also use a metal tube or a can with the top and bottom removed. Insert the tube or can into the ground about an inch or two deep. Fill the tube/can with water. You should see the chinch bugs float to the top after a few minutes.

You can get rid of chinch bugs by properly aerating your lawn and removing excess thatch, making your yard a less desirable place for them to live. But if a chinch bug infestation is well under way, you may need the help of a lawn care professional.

Do you have a lawn pest control problem that’s gotten out of hand? Realty Landscaping is ready to assist you. From gypsy moths to the emerald ash borer to everything else in between, our integrated pest management experts know the life cycle of different pests, how much damage they cost and when they are most susceptible to pest control methods.

Whether you’re dealing with an infestation on your lawn at home or at your commercial property, we have the tools you need to make your turf pest-free.

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