How do you know whether your lawn is being damaged by mole crickets or chinch bugs? It’s actually easy to test for both.
Chinch Bug test
To test your lawn for chinch bugs, simply rake your fingers across the dead grass onto a white paper (or your driveway) and you will see them, if they are present.
These bugs naturally exist in our environment and there are some natural diseases that will keep them at bay. They prefer the moist grass but when the grass dries out, these natural diseases go away and the chinch bug population spikes.
If you don’t see any chinch bugs, it’s easy to do a soap flush test for Mole Crickets.
Mole Cricket test
Just mix 1.5 ounces of liquid dishwashing soap. like Dawn, into 2 gallons of water and sprinkle the mixture over 4 square feet of turf. If two to four crickets appear within three minutes of application, corrective action is justified.
Here’s a quick video to show you how to do it:
Once you have determined what type of insect has invaded your lawn, it’s important to begin treatment immediately. Both insects require a liquid application of insecticide which is applied evenly and thoroughly across the lawn. Mole Crickets require a larger volume of material than the chinch bug but both are treated virtually the same.
Hiring a professional pest control company like Peninsular is usually preferred due to the large amount of product needed, not to mention the time it takes to thoroughly treat the lawn.
Lawn damaging caterpillars have already been spotted this year in large numbers. We have received many more calls about Sod Webworm Damage this year than in seasons past. You may notice small moths, which are uncontrollable, flying in your lawn. These Migratory Moths randomly lay eggs, producing caterpillars. The sod webworm damage from these caterpillars make the lawn appear like it was mowed too short. It is important to note that damage from these insects will generally recover within 2 -3 weeks during the growing season. Also, please understand the adult moths itself does not eat the grass, and when in numbers are just a simple nuisance.
Sod webworm larvae or caterpillars are grayish tan with brown heads. They have tiny dark spots on their body. They reach 3/4 to 1 inch when fully grown. Sod webworms hibernate in the thatch and soil as partially developed larvae. According to The University of Florida IFAS/Extension, these worms reside in silk lined tunnels in the thatch and soil. Larval activity usually resumes in April or early May.
Tropical sod webworm larvae are destructive pests of warm season turfgrasses in our area. The first sign of sod webworm damage is often caused by differences in grass height in areas where larvae are feeding.
The sod webworm damage usually occurs at night when the worms feed, their counterpart, the army worm feeds during the day and are a little larger than the sod webworm.
You can find sod webworms by parting the grass and looking for a small C-shaped worm curled up in a green pile of their excrement at the thatch level. What you will have found is the larval stage of the sod webworm moth. It’s the larval stage that will crawl through the grass and chew the blades down to the root zone.
Treatment requires two treatments in order to break the life cycle of the insect. As the eggs hatch out, that next cycle of worms will need to be treated. The reason it’s best to call a professional exterminator is due to the volume of material that is needed to control the sod webworms.
The Peninsular technician will inspect the lawn to determine where the sod webworm has started to eat the lawn. This is usually a brown color that is shorter than the rest of the lawn, almost as if a weed eater has attacked that area of the lawn.
During the application we start at the far corner of the lawn and treat in a back and forth pattern almost as if we are mowing. This will thoroughly treat the entire lawn with insecticide.