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Lawn care is labor intensive. By having a regular lawn care program, you will help prevent insect invasions and keep a healthy and great looking landscape. The less damage disease and insects do the less time and money you will have to invest in order to treat them. Proper care and nutrients can protect your lawn and help it withstand seasonal changes throughout the year.
Lawn damage including brown patches and easy to pull away turf are telltale signs of lawn insect problems. Each type of insect requires specific treatment strategies to control and eliminate them. Lawn insects can do a large amount of damage in a very short period of time, so it’s important to recognize any changes to your lawn and contact us if you suspect lawn insects.
Here are the most common invasive insects in the Treasure Valley:
- Cranberry Girdler
- Sod Webworm
Our season-long lawn care program includes a billbug preventative applied in late spring to control the spread of billbugs. If your lawn is left untreated and billbugs enter your lawn, damage will begin to show in mid to late summer when the larvae begin to feed on lawn roots. They can do a lot of damage in a short amount of time. Billbugs are very common here in the Treasure Valley so we have included this preventative service in our lawn care program.
If you are experiencing problems with lawn insects, quickly addressing them is key before vast amounts of damage occurs. Our lawn care professionals can help.
Service Areas. Our insect control program covers cities within the Treasure Valley including Boise, Meridian, Eagle, Kuna, Star, Nampa, Caldwell, and Middleton. If you are interested in signing up for our insect control services just fill out our free estimate form and we will contact you promptly.
Ensuring that your lawn is properly cared for and maintained is a lot less devastating on the pocketbook than replacing it with new sod. If you think that you may have insects in your lawn don’t hesitate to call or email us today. We work with residential, commercial and HOA property owners in the Treasure Valley and throughout the Ada and Canyon counties including Boise, Kuna, Meridian, Eagle, Nampa, Star, Caldwell and Middleton. You can contact our office today at 208-585-9400 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org to get on our schedule.
Billbugs are serious lawn pests in Idaho and are part of the beetle family. Adult billbugs are black or grey, and can reach up to ½” in length. Billbugs typically only have one generation per year. Young larvae will feed on grass blades near the crown but eventually burrow below the thatch layer and feed on lawn roots. They leave behind brown sawdust-like frass in the thatch layer. Billbug injury is most common on new lawns, particularly those established with sod, and damage usually appears from mid-June through late July.
Billbug damage appears as small scattered patches of dead grass, and in some cases extensive areas of a lawn may be killed during severe infestation. Infestations may also attract predators, such as skunks and raccoons that dig and damage lawns in search of the insects. Damaged turf is easy to pull up and away from the soil.
The most effective measure to control billbug infestations is with a preventative liquid spray during the spring season. This preventative treatment is included in our season-long lawn care program. Another important and effective measure to control billbug infestations is to grow a vigorous, healthy, and well-watered lawn. This will help provide your lawn with the best chance to overcome infestations.
The cranberry girdler is very similar to the sod webworm and has one generation per year. Adults emerge mid-June and after mating, the females drop several hundred eggs per week on turfgrass blades. The eggs hatch in 9-11 days and burrow down deep into the thatch layer to begin feeding on the crowns and roots of lawn. They feed for about two months and when cooler temperatures arrive in October, they begin to spin tough silk tunnels in the soil to overwinter.
Peak infestations typically occur in late summer to early fall. The larvae life cycle is the most damaging and they feed at or below the thatch layer. Damaged areas are similar to those of billbug damage where the sod becomes loosely attached to the soil and small brown patches appear. They can cause widespread damage if not controlled early.
Drought or stressed lawns will show more damage more quickly than a healthy vigorous lawn will. Keeping a proper thatch level with regular aerations, and properly watering and fertilizing are effective ways to minimize an infestation in your lawn.
Sod webworms are the larvae stage of lawn moths. First generation larvae hatch in late spring with the second generation hatching in late summer. As temperatures warm in the spring they become active and feed on turfgrass blades at night while seeking refuge in the thatch layer during the day. Mature caterpillars are about 1” long and grayish or greenish in color with brown spots. The adult moths are small and dull-colored with a wingspan of about 1”. Adults are nocturnal and can be seen flying low over the lawn. Females produce and drop about 60 eggs per day on the grass for 14 days with eggs hatching in 7 days during hot weather.
Damaged areas of lawn consist of leaf blades chewed off at the base of the plants and result in irregular brown spots in the lawn. Sod webworms feed on aboveground grass blades, so the roots will remain intact. Grasses with more thatch in the lawn are more susceptible to infestation. The sod webworms burrow and dig tunnels in the thatch layer of lawns.
A few telltale signs that you might have sod webworms in your lawn are small dead patches of lawn about the size of a baseball and birds hanging around your grass to feed on the larvae. Management options include keeping a proper thatch level and insecticide treatments during the larvae stage to reduce populations. Having regular aerations can help reduce a thick thatch layer.