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Do My Own Lawn Care - How to Get Rid of Pests in the Lawn

By DoMyOwn staff

With summer upon us, and our lawn looking good, it's now time to start thinking about treating the yard for pests! More specifically sod web worms, chinch bugs and nuisance pests like ants, fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes! In this video, Paul will go over the characteristics of these pets, and the best product to treat the lawn with to get rid of them!

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Video Transcript

It is a scorcher out here! Welcome to summer.

A lot of stuff to cover in this video, so we're going to jump right into it. Let's talk about how to get rid of pests in the yard.

Especially if you know you have a problem with a specific pest each year, it's best to treat them before they get there or at the very early stages of it's life cycle.

Now that we're getting into the heat of the summer let's talk about two of the biggest ones that a lot of people are going to start noticing, Sod Web Worms in the the North and Chinch bugs down here in the South.

Let's start off by first talking about Sod Web worms, now these are very small in the soil and will even curl up into little balls when they're disturb.

The larvae construct silken tubes which they live in, and they can vary in color from tan to brown, or green and gray and will have dark spots on dark heads. And they can grow to be about three quarters of an inch long.

Now the adults, or the moths, are often very small and they're sometimes refereed to as snout moths because of snout like protrusion that come off of the head.

Now it's important to know that it's not the moths that cause the damage to the yard, rather it's the larvae that do. But if you do see the moths, that means that the larvae are present and you should probably treat.

Now let's talk about finding the damage or the signs of Sod Web worms in the yard. After the eggs hatch in late Spring, the web worms will start to feed on the grass. As they continue to get bigger, they'll start to eat larger chunks of the grass blade. This will kind of make the grass look a little notched, as they're taking larger chunks out of the grass blade.

Eventually whole blades will be clipped off at the crown, they'll take it back to their silken tubes and have themselves a nice little feast!

Since the worms cut the grass off at the crown, brown patches will start to appear. They'll start out small and they'll eventually start getting bigger and they'll combine with other brown patches and now you've got a dead yard on your hands.

Two times you're most likely going to encounter Sod Web worms, Spring and Summer. Now the eggs that hatch in the Spring will do the most damage because they feed throughout the Spring, going into the summer.

You'll most likely see the worst of the damage, depending on where you live, in July or August.

Now if you're not sure if you have Sod Web worms, but you suspect that you might, there's a test that you can do. The soap flush test.

For a soap flush test, you're going to take about two tablespoons of detergent, mix that up with two gallons of water, and then pour it in a square foot area of your yard. You're going to let that soak in and wait for worms to become visible at the top of the grass.

If you've got about ten to fifteen that float up to the surface, this is a good sign that you've got a problem and you should treat.

We have a lawn pest guide on Sod Web worms, I'll link to that in the description box below so that you can go over to the treat section of that guide and see what products are recommended to treat for them and how to use them.

Now let's talk about the other major pest that you're probably going to encounter in the yard at this time of the year, especially for us here in the South. Chinch bugs!

Now Chinch bugs belong to what is known as the "true bug" category and they have these piercing sucking mouth parts that cause damage to your turf grass.

This action will inhibit water movement throughout the plant which will cause the lawn to brown and die.

Chinch bugs have different stages of growth with slightly different appearances at each one of those stages. Adult Chinch bugs are oval shaped and have wings that are black and white, with a triangle type shape on them.

Their legs are a slight orange brown color and they're very very small. They only get to about a fifth of an inch long. Immature Chinch bugs start out extremely small and they're a bright orange color. Even though they're a bright orange color, they can easily be over looked because of how small they are. As they mature they'll start to darken in color until the resemble the adult stage of the life cycle.

Now let's talk about Chinch bug damage, which again can often be confused with drought damage or disease in the lawn.

Chinch bug damage starts out as a small yellowing area in the yard. As the grass begins to brown and die, the Chinch bugs will move to the perimeter of that dying area and continue feeding outward, causing the area to expand and grow bigger.

Again, depending on where you live, you'll most likely notice the largest amount of Chinch bug damage in late Spring and August, and parts of early September, when eggs laid in the early Spring hatch and nymphs develop.

Damage usually occurs in very sunny areas of your turf, especially when weather is hot or dry.

There are two main ways that you can inspect your lawn for Chinch bugs. The first is to mainly spread the turf at the crown to look for any kind of Chinch bug activity. Because they're so small, I would recommend getting a magnifying glass to help with the search.

If you have damaged grass near sidewalks or pavement, you may be able to see adult bugs crawling across the ground on hot sunny days.

The other way to inspect, and probably the easiest, is to do a float test. The best way to do this is to grab a metal cylinder open on both ends. I would recommend a coffee can. You'll take that metal cylinder, now open on both ends, and you'll press it down into the soil about three inches. You'll fill it about three quarters of the way with water, and keep filling it with water to maintain that level as soaks down into the ground.

You'll want to do this for about ten minutes, and all the while agitating the turf that's underneath that water. If you do have Chinch bug problems those bugs will float to the top of the water off of the turf. Count the number of bugs that you see, and if you've got about more than fifteen in a square foot area, that's your sign that you need to treat for Chinch bugs!

Again we do have a guide about Chinch bug treatment; I'll link it in the description box below.

Now let's go on to the most common pest problem which are nuisance pests. This includes ants, fleas, ticks, and the king of them all, mosquitoes!

In the learning center of our website, we do have pest guides that go more in depth on each one of those, I'll link them in the description box below for you.

But in a nutshell, a Bifenthrin granule will do a really good job of taking most of those pests. So let's talk about that, Bifenthrin granules.

I should say, a granule that contains Bifenthrin, and even better than that is a granule that contains Bifenthrin and Zeta-Cypermethrin, which is great for fire ant control. And that is the granule that I'm going to be using in my yard!

Which by the way we have a couple of videos that talk about fire ant control, I'll link all of those in the description box below.

For this granule, the application rate will vary depending on the type of pests that you're treating for. But basically, you're going to use anywhere between two to four pounds per 1,000 square feet.

For my particular yard, I've got six thousand four hundred square feet, so I've done the math and I'm going to need about ten pounds to treat the entire yard.

That being said, always read the product label so that you get it right! Remember people, label is law!

So enough talking! Let's get to walking!

So there we go! That's a general application of a granule that you can throw in the yard to take care of a lot of those nuisance pests!

One other tip that I want to throw out there, especially when it comes to mosquitoes, if you've got lots of rain or you're irrigating the lawn really well, mosquitoes are most likely there, and reproducing in the yard. You got a nice, thick, robust lawn, perfect for mosquitoes and keep your eye out for them.

I highly recommend you check out those pest guides in the description box below to learn more about the pests that we covered in this video!

If you have any further questions, you know what you can do! Leave them in the description box below, email the customer service staff, or pick up your phone and give us a call!

That was a lot to cover. I hope you found it helpful, and I hope you'll continue to follow along by clicking this button to subscribe to the channel, clicking this playlist to see all the videos in the lawn care series, and clicking this playlist to see the Do My Own Gardening series!

And as always, thanks for watching!