Trouble With Your Lawn? 2 Signs Of A Lurking Pest Infestation

If you are like most homeowners, you might chalk up a brown, uneven lawn with a few watering issues. Unfortunately, after adding a little extra time to that sprinkler cycle and giving your lawn a few dietary supplements, you might notice that your efforts are in vain. Predators have overtaken that carefully installed grass—leveling it with that lawn down the street with the owners that don't even fertilize. Fortunately, you don't have to let a few rogue insects destroy your chances for winning that yearly lawn care award. Here are two signs of a lurking pest infestation, and how you can eradicate issues fast:

1: Loose Sod

When you think of damaging lawn insects, you might assume that pests are eager to get ahold of those crisp, green blades of grass. However, your turf infestation might go much deeper than you think. Believe it or not, several varieties of moths and beetles lay their eggs on the surface of the soil, so their growing larvae can munch away on your tender grass roots. After these pests have set up shop, they can actually eat away entire sections of your lawn's root system—completely separating sod from soil. Here are a few pests that can cause this problem, and how to detect their presence before they obliterate your entire yard:

  • White Grubs: Plump and shaped like a C, white grubs vary in size and have an orange-black head. With as few as ten grubs per square foot of lawn, these destructive insects can create brown, loose sod in no time. Fortunately, aerating, deep watering, and introducing nematodes to the soil can control grubs.
  • June Beetles: Those big beetles might be fun for your kids to play with, but they might be destroying your grass. Adult June Beetles, which are brown and about an inch long, might indicate the presence of June Bug grubs in your lawn, which can create yellowed patches of dead grass. Unfortunately, these grubs are more destructive than the traditional white variety, wreaking havoc anytime their numbers surpass more than four grubs per square foot of sod.   

To detect root-chomping insects early, take the time to tug your grass every now and again. As you go through to pull weeds like dandelions, grab hold of some of your grass blades and give them a gentle pull. If you don't experience a lot of resistance, take the time to dissect a section of your lawn to look for insects hiding under the roots.

2: Uneven Ground

Nothing is more frustrating when you are trying to mow or edge your grass than uneven ground. In addition to posing potentially dangerous trip and fall hazards for your family, little hills or valleys can also make it nearly impossible to make your grass look even and aesthetically pleasing. Although you might assume the issue stems from a poor sod installation, these burrowing pests might be the cause of the problem:

  • Gophers: Those little hills might make your yard look like it is straight from a storybook, but gophers can make your lawn look like a landmine. After building up dirt piles, gophers can even chew through the root systems of plants and trees—destroying your flowerbeds along with your lawn.
  • Voles: Voles, also called field mice, can create massive underground tunnels in your lawn. Because they weaken the underground soil structure, collapses can create unsightly divots in your grass.

Fortunately, professional exterminators can get you more information and have an arsenal of weapons they can use against lawn-burrowing pests. While poisons and baits can be used to significantly reduce gopher and vole numbers, your pest control professional might be able to use gentler means to eliminate those frustrating pests. For example, by introducing neutral plants to the area, your exterminator can make gophers and voles a problem of the past.  

Being able to recognize and treat lawn pest infestations might help you to fend off trouble before the damage is done—so that you can focus on your other landscaping needs.