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Beneficial Insects

Beneficial Insects

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Creating an environment hostile to pests includes enlisting the help of beneficial insects.  These insects keep undesirable pest populations in check through their feeding, as either predators or parasites.  Both the adult and immature stages of predators actively search out and consume prey.  Parasites help by depositing eggs in or on the host.  When they hatch, the host becomes their food source. What can you do to encourage helpful insects? …

Common lawn weeds

Aboveground Pests

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Chinch Bugs Chinch bugs are the premier pest on St. Augustinegrass lawns, and will attack other grasses except those in the coldest climates.  Black, winged, and 1/5-inch long, they live and lay eggs in the thatch layer at the root line. Most damaging are the tiny red nymphs, which thrive on sap sucked from grass stems. The adult chinch bug is the scourge of southern grasses. The chinch bug nymph sucks on…

Underground pests - Japanese Beetle

Underground Pests

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White Grubs These root-eating larvae of the scarab beetle family include Japanese beetles, June bugs, rose chafers, and the black turfgrass ataenius.  Grub size and characteristics vary, but grubs are generally plump, whitish gray and C-shaped with brown heads, and three pairs of legs.  In the summer, you can identify adult Japanese beetles, metallic green with copper wings, and June bugs, reddish brown nocturnal fliers. Look for: Wilted, bluish-gray grass…

Testing for insects

Testing for Insects

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In addition to the time-honored method of parting the grass and looking around, the following techniques will expose damaging insects in your lawn. Soap Drench: Use to flush out sod webworms, armyworms, mole crickets, and caterpillars.  Mix 5- to 6-tablespoons of dishwashing liquid in a 2-gallon sprinkling can full of water, and drench 4-square feet of lawn with the solution.  Observe the area for three minutes, counting the number of…

Gardens that attract beneficial insects

Create a Garden to Attract Beneficial Insects

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To encourage high beneficial insect populations design your garden to incorporate a variety of flowering plants rich in nectar and pollen.  Choose cultivars with easily accessible pollen found in plants with a single layer of petals or a tubular flower form.  Common herbs, wildflowers, and scented plants are all attractive to beneficial insects.  Do not clear out dead foliage in the fall, this is an important habitat for beneficial over…