Hot and dry weather is ideal for pests like chinch bugs. A few small dead areas in the lawn can quickly spread, killing large sections that are costly to replace. If you have a St. Augustine lawn, you likely know that the southern chinch bug is a big problem. Most people tend to overlook them because they are so small. Adults are about 1/5 inch long and are black with white patches on the wings. The nymphs range from 1/20 inch long to nearly adult size. Small nymphs are reddish with a white band across the back, but become black in color as they grow.
Chinch bug nymphs and adults can cause significant feeding damage. They remove plant fluids and inject a toxin that causes the grass to yellow, turn reddish brown and eventually die. Damaged areas often join together into large patches of dead, brown grass. These injured areas are more prone to injury because they are in hot spots along concrete or asphalt paved areas or in water-stressed areas where the grass is growing in full sun.
The majority of damage occurs from April through September. Left untreated, these areas get bigger as chinch bugs span out in search of their next meal. The suggested economic threshold (the density of a pest at which a control treatment will provide an economic return) for the chinch bug is 15 to 20 insects per square foot. Though chinch bugs prefer St. Augustine grass, they will also feed on other grass species.
If you have a lawn, they live in it, feed on it, and burrow underneath it. Grubs eat the roots of grass and therefore can do a lot of damage before they are spotted. Brown patches of dead grass will be the first sign of grub infestation.
But they can also do damage more indirectly, by attracting raccoons and skunks to your back yard. These rodents will dig through the grass in attempts to secure an easy and delicious grub-centered meal.
To keep the rodents away, the best approach is to discourage their presence. To make your yard inhospitable, dangle shiny CDs above the area, use loud noises, spread ammonia-soaked rags, or disperse the urine from predatory animals.
Controlling the grub population may be necessary if there is a serious infestation (four or more grubs per square foot), but using grub pesticides can have adverse consequences for other, beneficial soil organisms.
A better approach to rid the lawn of too much digging is to spread a generous coating of Milorganite, which will dissuade rodents from digging. To repair damage, re-seeding can begin in the fall season.
They will unapologetically eat your lawn, and you may not even know they are there. A few telltale signs can be all you need to remove these root-crunching grubs from your life, however.
They go after the roots of grass and therefore can kill large amounts of your beautiful green yard. To avoid this, inspect your lawn periodically for dead patches that are effortlessly pulled from the earth. Since the grubs have consumed the roots, the turf is easily removed. By digging up the patch, you can count the small white larvae; if you have more than 3 per square foot, you should begin treatment by calling a pest control professional or researching home treatments.
The dead patches are usually not noticeable until midsummer, but the grubs first begin feeding in early spring. If you can wipe them out the summer after they begin chomping away, the yard can be easily restored. The second stage, after their first winter hibernation, is the most damaging. By then, those grubs have matured and laid more eggs, underground.
By the next spring, all those satiated little grubs will have become mature, reproducing insects. By then it will be much more difficult to eradicate them.
Summer is here and fruit trees are nearer to producing their delicious cornucopia of juicy, sweet delicacies ripening in back yards across Florida. Yet humans are not the only creatures waiting. An amazing number of insects enjoy fruit just as much as we do.
Aphid, whiteflies, scales and psyllids are potential threats to your trees, and knowing what to look for can save not only the fruit but, sometimes, the tree itself.
Aphids are tiny insects that come in green, reddish-brown, black or gray. They are identified by their small size and tendency to infest the bottom of tree leaves. If your tree has aphids, you will likely see a sooty mold that precipitates a white sticky substance called honeydew.
The whitefly is another scourge to be on the lookout for, and are very similar to aphids in behavior and result. Their presence, in large enough numbers, will also produce mold. They are identified by their diminutive size and white appearance.
Like aphids and whiteflies, scales also produce mold. In Florida, where fruit trees abound, there are three types: wax scale, purple scale and soft brown scale. Their presence leaves trees weakened and leads to a fruit of low quality.
Regular maintenance of your trees requires observation, which should happen weekly. In most cases, once a problem is identified, it is often manageable with swift and appropriate intervention. Asian psyllids are another issue altogether, however. This invasive species attacks all types of citrus and once identified, the tree must be destroyed and removed.
Lurking in your turf may be a large white grub. You can see its signs by noticing holes and brown patches in your lawn, and it may need to be treated.
Before trying an insecticide, there are two other approaches to contain these hungry critters. But first, you must understand them. They are in larval stage as white grubs, but grow into a brown beetle in adulthood. They are a golden brown but with darker heads and about three quarters of an inch in size. They lazy their eggs in the ground (that is, your yard!), the grubs generally hatch in late summer then feed on roots of turf, until winter puts them into a hibernation-like state.
In Spring the grubs rise again, eating their fill until they reach pupation in early or mid summer.
If you spotted signs of the grubs, your approach should be to first determine the extend of the infestation. Steps must be taken if you find more than six of these critters per square food of lawn. First, aerate. Next, try using beneficial nematodes. Only as a last step will you want to treat with insecticides.
The most noticeable symptoms of an infestation of this whitefly is the abundance of
the white, waxy material covering the leaves and also excessive sooty mold. Like other similar insects, these whiteflies will produce “honeydew”, a sugary substance, which causes the growth of sooty mold. The actual effect of an infestation on the health of a plant is unknown; however, whiteflies in general can cause plant decline, defoliation and branch dieback.
South Florida has new variety of whitefly referred to as Spiraling whitefly. This fly can affect a wide variety of Florida’s beautiful tropical plants such as:
Black Olive Trees
A wide variety of Palms
Live oak, some shrubs such as copperleaf, cocoplum and wax myrtle
Most homeowners strive for that perfect lush green lawn and landscaping with bright green tropical plants. It is a time consuming and labor intensive process which leave you frustrated when it is ruined by bugs and insects. South Florida is home to several bugs that not only do damage to your lawn, but pose health and safety risks as well. It’s essential you get your lawn treated from alawn pest control professional to ensure your family’s safety and preserve your hard work.
Fire Ants are a common insect in South Florida that can attack humans and pets. They not only attack, but with force with hundreds and sometimes thousands in a colony. According to a University of South Florida publication there are several varieties of fire ants that thrive in the warm climate of South Florida. One variety is a mound building type that can wreak havoc on your landscaping building mounds up to 18 inches in diameter. It is essential that you get your lawn treated when you first see these ants or before to prevent a colony from forming.
Grasshoppers are a common outdoor insect that most homeowners don’t think of as a pest. In some areas their population can become out of control and they do severe damage to common landscaping plants. They constantly feed on green vegetation and often times the plants you cherish and maintain on a regular basis.
There are two types of whiteflies in southern Florida which affect a variety of trees and plants including ficus, palms and some fruit trees. Symptoms of an infestation include a large number of small white-colored flies, discolored leaves or an excessive amount of fallen leaves or branches. Treatment for these is necessary as they not only damage your landscaping but can affect your outdoor pool and ponds.
If you are concerned about your lawn or have an existing pest problem contact us at 866-611-2847 or online to schedule your free lawn analysis and receive a $50.00 coupon
Looking for information on lawn pests in Florida? You have found the right place on the web! Most homeowners in Florida take pride in maintaining their gardens and landscapes. But healthy landscapes can bring certain Florida bugs, and these pests feed on plants and grass. Unless protective pest control measures are taken, various outdoor invaders can do extensive damage to your yard and garden.
Chinch bugs are seriously damaging to St Augustine and other turf grass species. They suck the plant juices through their needle-like beak and can also cause other internal injuries to the grass, which can result in yellowish and brown patches in lawns. These affected areas are frequently noticed first along concrete or asphalt-paved edges, or in water-stressed areas where the grass is growing in full sun.
Aphids and whitefly feed on vegetable plantings, ornamentals and tender plant parts such as grass shoots, sucking out essential fluids. Aphids and scale excrete a sweet substance known as honeydew that attracts ants and forms a sticky coating on leaves. The honeydew can form a fungus called “sooty mold,” which can make leaves, especially on ornamentals, look black and dirty. Aphids can also transmit plant viruses to their food plants, which can cause the plant to die. These pests, as well as chinch bugs, are particularly prevalent throughout the spring months.
Armyworms,sod webworms and grubworms eat the grass blades and shoots that make up healthy lawns, causing major damage to various kinds of turf grass. They are common during the fall months.
During fall and winter, mites and scale are common. Scale insects live in the soil and suck the juices from the grass roots of turf grass; they can also be harmful to ornamental plants. Symptoms attributed to scale insects include yellowing of the grass, followed by browning; scale damage becomes most noticeable when the grass is under stress due to drought, nutritional deficiencies and other afflictions. Ordinarily not a pest in well-managed lawns, mites are known to attack grasses. They suck the sap and cause leaves to appear blotched and stippled, and severe infestations can also kill plants.
Some of these pests are especially damaging since they are literally born and raised on lawn turf grass in the surrounding soil. Sod webworms eat various grasses as larvae and continue doing so as adults. Others, like mole crickets, destroy lawns by tunneling through the soil near the lawn’s surface, which loosens the soil so that the grass is often uprooted and dies due to the drying out of the root system. They also feed on grass roots, causing thinning of the turf, eventually resulting in bare soil. Mole crickets are common when the temperatures are the warmest and rainfall and humidity is high. They can also be found in and around your home in dark, damp places.
Slugsandsnails often move about on lawns and may injure adjacent plants. They are night feeders and leave mucous trails on plants and sidewalks. Plaster bagworms, close relatives of the clothes moth, are often found in sheds and garages.
Do you live in Florida and have a lawn pest problem in your landscape? Hulett Environmental Services offers custom designed lawn care treatments to control and prevent these pests!
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