What Causes Lawn Pests, and How to Get Rid of Them

What Causes Lawn Pests, and How to Get Rid of Them

On your way out to work, you walk over your lush green grass, and, oh no! There is a huge, brown, dry patch in the middle of your lawn.

Not to worry, this is a sight that we have all encountered, but before you turn on those sprinklers to the max, there may be something else making your lawn an eyesore. What is it? And how do you get rid of them? Let’s find out.

Why Is Your Lawn Brown?

You see that horrible brown patch of grass and go into despair. However, despite the frequent mowing and watering, there may be something lurking beneath the surface that is making your grass go sour, and that something is lawn pests (1). Now, lawn pests are not something we think of off the bat when thinking of a browning lawn, but they have been a problem for years (2). 

After the summer of 1929 in California, many publications started to come out regarding widespread damage and “dry patches” in lawns and golf courses. This occurred again in 1931, with a magnitude none would think possible. The culprit? Lawn insects (3).

What Lawn Pests Could Be Damaging Your Lawn?

While scientists were racking their minds about what could be causing such eyesores across California, people were spending hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to revive their lawns. Finally, after more and more cases occurred from 1938 to 1941, scientists figured it out—lawn moths (4). 

Lawn moths, also known as sod webworms, are a well-known figure in a gardener’s handbook. This insect is found worldwide and is widely known as a significant agricultural pest. 

During the daytime, most webworms seek shelter in shaded areas, such as shrubbery and damp places. At night, they congregate on your lawn. Adult webworms tend to look like brown, dingy moths, flying in zigzags over the grass. 

In addition to lawn moths, there is a suite of other insects that enjoy wreaking havoc on your lawn, including nematodes, skippers, and ants (5).

Why are Lawn Pests a Problem? 

It isn’t the adult moths that you should be concerned about, but their larvae. The larval stages of lawn moths feed on grass leaves at night. Their chewing creates extensive damage to the leaves of the grass, causing it to become brown. Not only this, but they also prefer hot and dry grassy areas like banks and steep slopes, where drought stress causes the chewing to become a more significant problem, a double-pronged attack on your lawn (6,7).

The first juvenile stages of webworms live in the upper leaf surface of the grass, causing negligible damage; however, it is when they mature to the final immature stages that they cause the most significant harm. The final stages end up chewing the entire leaf blade, causing noticeable yellow-brown patches, which continue to die during the heat of summer (8,9). 

Over time, with continued summer conditions, these patches come together to form huge, dry patches of lawn, which is easily confused with drought symptoms. However, all is not lost; you can return your yard to its former glory through proper cultivation practices and treatment (10,11). 

What Can You Do About Them?

While less severe infestations of lawn pests can rectify themselves over time, severe infestations will require multiple methods of treatment to get that lush, green front lawn fully revived again (12,13).

Maintain Your Lawn

A well-maintained lawn is relatively resistant to lawn pests, including lawn moths. Mowing the lawn regularly and at the recommended height for your grass species is the first step to prevent lawn pest infestation. It is also vital to not over-fertilize the grass, as this will enhance the grass’s growth and the accumulation of dead grass near the soil. 

Treat Your Lawn with Appropriate Insecticides

If initial symptoms are already present in your grass, it will be necessary to treat your lawn with appropriate insecticides. It is essential to use a broad-spectrum insecticide to remove multiple species’ infestations, such as EcoClear’s Stop Bugging Me!™Lawn & Garden

Stop Bugging Me! Lawn and Garden

Timing Is Crucial

For lawn moths, pay attention to the zigzag movements over the lawn in the evening. Within a few days, these adults will lay eggs, and the eggs will hatch. After about 7 days, start treating your lawn with an appropriate insecticide. If you miss this, you can also have a look at the lawn for small yellow spots. These will be evidence of the older juvenile lawn moths feeding and damaging the grass. 

EcoClear’s Stop Bugging Me!™

One tool all gardeners should have in their toolbox is EcoClear’s Stop Bugging Me!™ Lawn & Garden. This incredible insecticide is all-natural and chemical-free, created explicitly for the pre-and post-treatment of lawn insect infestations. It works immediately to eliminate insect infestation while remaining safe for you, your family, your furry friends, and of course, the environment.

The Bottom Line

Those brown patches on your lawn may not be a result of lack of watering but a larger issue, lawn insects. Lawn moths, in particular, can wreak havoc on your lawn, killing off sections at a time.

While pests can be concerning, there are steps you can take to get back control of your lawn. This is where EcoClear’s Stop Bugging Me!™Lawn & Garden comes in. While useful and fast-acting, it is also very safe, allowing you and your family to enjoy the back yard in no time.