Garden Design

What Insects Eat Grass? A Guide to Grass-Killing Bugs

Americans take their gardens very seriously. Research shows that homeowners in the US spend more than $5 billion on lawn care services annually.

When it comes to maintaining your lawn, there are several things you can do to help it grow lush and healthy. This can mean doing things like fertilizing at the appropriate times of the year.

But what good is all your hard work if lawn insects are chewing away at your well-manicured grounds? If you weren’t aware, you might be asking, “What insects eat grass, anyway?”

Quite a few, actually. Keep reading to learn about lawn pest control in this handy guide.

Common Lawn Insects

If you’ve noticed the quality of your lawn has deteriorated, you might be dealing with lawn insects. Several grass killing bugs can damage your lawn and should be dealt with immediately.

If you don’t, you risk the infestation worsening and your entire lawn dying. Let’s answer, “What insects eat grass?” and look at some of the most common insects you may encounter.

1. White Grubs

White grubs are beetle larvae that feed on grass roots before laying dormant. These larvae transition into beetles in the summer and are typically noticed most in the late summer and early fall. These pests are a common problem; if left untreated, they will eat your grass roots, making the healthy blades die off.

Signs of Infestation

To check for white grubs, dig up a patch of soil and check for these larvae. They will look a whitish color, fat, and curled up.

You want your lawn to have at most six grubs per square foot. Here are some signs you may have white grubs destroying your yard:

  • Dying, brown patches of grass
  • It is possible to roll back the turf like a carpet to expose grubs
  • More wildlife activity searching for a meal of grubs
  • Spongy or soft lawn

White Grub Treatment Options

If white grubs overrun your lawn, you can choose between two chemicals that can solve the problem. These are trichlorfon and carbaryl. You can find these insecticides online or at your local nursery and apply as per directions.

2. Lawn Caterpillars

Lawn caterpillars damage your lawn by feeding on the grass blades. If you notice the occasional caterpillar, your lawn should be ok. However, they can significantly threaten your yard when you spot them in higher numbers.

While the young caterpillars feed on the tops of the grass blades, the adults eat the entire thing. This can leave your lawn looking brown and unattractive.

Signs of Infestation

Lawn caterpillars work quickly, so you should pay attention to how fast you notice your lawn quality declining. You can also do a drench test. Here are further signs you may have an infestation of lawn caterpillars:

  • Browning or yellowing of the lawn
  • Chewed grass blades
  • Quick decline in lawn quality
  • Caterpillars on the top of the soil

Lawn Caterpillar Treatment Options

Now that you’ve determined you have a lawn caterpillar problem, you can either look to professionals like this pest control business in Cape Coral or try a DIY solution. If you choose to do it yourself, consult your local nursery for pesticides that control lawn caterpillars.

3. Chinch Bugs

Chinch bugs are another common lawn pest you want to deal with immediately. You can notice the young ones by their red and white band, while the adults are monotone with white wings.

These bugs feed on grass blades while they’re young. To do this, they pierce the grass and suck the sap out.

They will continue doing this until the grass dies, where they will move to the next blade. You’ll notice these bugs in early- to mid-summer.

Signs of Infestation

If you’re concerned you have a chinch bug infestation, you do a grass check for them. Lift a portion of your brown grass patch and check for bugs. Alternatively, here are some common signs:

  • Dry, brown patches of grass with healthy blades interspersed
  • Yellowing turf that becomes damaged regardless of irrigation

Chinch Bug Treatment Options

If your lawn is battling chinch bugs, it’s time to break out the pesticides. Most lawn pesticides will deal with these bugs, but consult with your local nursery or read the labels to be sure.

It’s worthwhile noting that not all pesticides will deal with the eggs. So this means you may have to apply two separate applications to kill the insects and their eggs. Alternatively, you can try diatomaceous earth for a greener, more eco-friendly treatment.

Infestation Prevention Tips

Now that you know what insects eat grass and the signs of infestation, it’s helpful to learn some prevention tips. Here are our top four:

1. Keep Your Grass Healthy

If you work hard to keep your grass healthy, it stands a greater chance of surviving an infestation attack. Healthy grass will bounce back quicker than grass that is struggling to thrive.

2. Choose the Correct Lawn Variety

Depending on where you live, you want to ensure you plant the correct grass for your region. This allows you to grow a hardy lawn that is resistant to pests.

3. Care For Your Lawn Correctly

If you don’t care for your lawn correctly, you risk leaving it vulnerable to lawn pests. You want to ensure you irrigate the lawn properly and avoid overwatering.

4. Keep a Watchful Eye

Finally, keep a watchful eye on your lawn all year round. If you know your lawn well, you’ll notice when something is wrong, and you can deal with it immediately.

Understand What Insects Eat Grass and Win the Battle Today

Having a beautiful lawn is the goal of every homeowner. Not only does it raise curb appeal, but it also increases your property value.

As the season changes, you may notice signs that your lawn is declining. Unfortunately, this may mean you have lawn pests and need to deal with them immediately. Now that this article has explored what insects eat grass, you are better equipped to deal with them should they become a problem.

If you found this article informative, read more in our Garden Design and Home & Design categories.

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