Read these 9 Pests Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Lawn tips and hundreds of other topics.
... And it's time to look for annual white grubs. If you had a large population of beetles this summer, chances are good that you'll have a large population of white grubs. Inspect the soil around the roots of your grass carefully. Grubs are small and very susceptible to the products we use to treat them. If you find more than say, 3 or 4 per square foot, treat them RIGHT NOW, while it's hot. Don't wait until fall--they'll be too big. Don't wait until spring, they'll be too big and too deep. Get'em now.
Fire ants do not usually forage during the heat of the day, so apply your fire ant baits (Amdro and Award) during the cooler dusk periods.
Don't apply baits directly onto the mound.
Don't disturb the ants at all.
Don't mow the lawn immediately after application or just prior to application. Wait a few days to let the bait be taken in, then mow as usual.
If you have bought, borrowed or rented an animal trap, then call the animal control authorities and have them take the animal. DO NOT take the critter out for a drive and drop him off in the middle of "nowhere." You are merely foisting your problem off on a farmer or country homeowner. In some cases, the animal has probably become adapted to foraging in a suburban environment, and relocation to a country setting may cause him to starve to death. Some "country folk" have little time or patience in dealing with your problem, and may simply shoot the animal or trap it themselves and dispose of it. That's a lot less humane than anything the animal control people have in store for him.
Mole crickets are one of the most serious pests in the southern lawn. They can literally destroy a typical suburban lawn in no time flat. Timely identification and treatment with a mole cricket bait are the two most effective tools in your arsenal. Mole crickets damage lawns through their tunneling. They have powerful front foreclaws that allow them to quickly move through the lawn, uprooting grass and leaving it to die. Their tunnels are smaller than the mammal pest they're named for, and they are active at night. Turn on a floodlight late at night, and observe. If you see many insects that look like a cross between a steam shovel and a cricket, treat with a bait insecticide labeled for controlling mole crickets.
Scout your lawn on sunny, warm days by dragging a foot through the turf and watching for small, black bugs to crawl across your toe. You can also identify an infestation by using a large coffee can with both ends cut out. Press one end of the can about 2 or 3 inches into the soil, fill with soapy water, and observe. If chinch bugs are present, they will float to the surface. Check the margins--where the yellowish spots and the green grass meet--in several different locations.
Repeated applications of soapy water will kill many of the chinch bugs, but complete control requires the use of an insecticide. Consult the Cooperative Extension Service to determine which pesticide is best to use. A few species of chinch bugs have developed a resistance to commonly used pesticides.
Birds, squirrels, raccoons, oppossums, gophers and moles are frequent, bothersome pests for homeowners. The smaller critters rarely do serious, lasting damage but the big ones can wreak havoc. They are all probably foraging for food. Grubs are a favored meal for moles and birds. Raccoons and oppossums will gladly eat them, too. Gophers will eat almost anything they can reach. Even foxes and deer can cause problems. Armadillos can rip up entire sections of the lawn in a single night looking for food. The best method for dealing with these troublesome critters is to remove the food source or make it less accessible. If you can't do that feasibly, contact the local animal control authority, and ask for their help. They should be able to loan you a trap and show you how to set it. When you finally have the little bugger, call the animal control folks and tell'em to come and get it. Then reset your trap, and keep doing it until the problem is resolved.
Milky Spore Disease is being marketed as an effective "bio-pesticide" for white grubs. This may not work in your area, and it is specifically for a certain species of beetle larvae. Before investing in MSD to control grubs, contact the Extension Service in your county to determine whether MSD has been tested on the species of grubs in your area. Also, find out whether soil conditions in your area will support the propagation of the disease pathogen. MSD is an expensive treatment. You need to know your chances of success before trying it.
Sod webworms are a pest mainly in transition zone and midwestern lawns, but they can affect other areas as well. A sign of potential damaging infesation is spotting a large number of moths flying over the lawn during evening hours. Treatment for webworms is most effective from early July through mid-August. Spot treating problem spots keeps costs and damage down.
Know the Beetle's life cycle, and you'll treat grubs more effectively. The June and Japanese Beetles are by far the worst two pest beetle species. Their young are the fat, c-shaped white grubs that feed on your grass' roots and cause symptoms similar to drought stress. The beetles usually begin their mating flights in June, and burrow to lay eggs in early July. The two to three week period immediately after the adults have "disappeared" is the time to treat. If the grubs are not treated promptly, they will feed voraciously through the fall, descend into the soil to overwinter, and awaken in spring to devour even more roots. Treat grubs when the grubs are young. If you see damage (dead grass), it's too late.