Lawn Pest Control 101: Identifying And Eliminating Common Lawn Invaders In Katy
Ant on a green leaf.

Lawn Pest Control 101: Identifying And Eliminating Common Lawn Invaders In Katy

After a crazy busy day of fighting traffic and working to meet deadlines, few things are as satisfying as returning home to a well-manicured, lush green lawn. Pride arises as the ornamental plants and freshly cut grass catch your eye. After all, who doesn't want their yard to be the envy of the neighborhood?

Perhaps you found this article because that was your experience until you arrived home one day and noticed dark patches appearing in the yard. Or, you walked by your prized plants and saw dark blotches on the leaves. As you stood on your porch reflecting on your deteriorating yard, you wondered what was causing the issue. 

If this scenario, or a similar one, describes you, you need lawn pest control in Katy from Modern Pest Control. Our independent company began in 1952 out of a desire to deliver prompt, professional, and high-quality pest control to the area. 

As a QualityPro Certified company, an achievement earned by only 3% of pest control companies nationwide, our products and training meet and exceed federal and state regulations; the Texas Department of Agriculture licenses our pest management professionals. 

Our staff undergo rigorous training and background checks so you can feel confident when you partner with us to resolve your lawn pest issues. When you invite us to fix the lawn pest problem surrounding your home, we will use our 70-plus years of experience, extensive knowledge, and state-of-the-art solutions to resolve the problem. 

You probably found this article because you are searching for answers to find solutions so you can fix your deteriorating lawn. Please keep reading to discover the likely culprits and learn how to restore your lawn.

Common Perimeter Pests: Identifying The Threats

Living in Texas has many benefits. For example, we can enjoy the lawns around our homes and outdoor activities throughout the year. However, because we do not have harsh, elongated winters, pests thrive in our hot, humid climate. Our yards do not get a much-deserved respite from attacks from the various species that lurk beneath our feet, and despite our best landscaping efforts, many creatures work against us to damage the landscape around our Katy homes. 

When you look across your lawn and notice damage, one of these is the likely culprit: 

  • Aphids
  • Brown patch
  • Chinch bugs
  • Grubs
  • Scale
  • Sod webworms

Since most of us are unfamiliar with many of these creatures or fungi, we will examine each one in-depth so you can identify and understand what is causing damage to your property. 

Aphids are lawn pests with a 1/16 to 1/8-inch body that may or may not have wings. Since the colors of these pests depend upon their species, they will have green, black, red, yellow, brown, or gray bodies. With such a wide color variation, how do you know if you are not looking at ants, termites, or another type of insect with similar size and coloration? 

One way to determine if the insect is an aphid is its pear-shaped body. Like all insects, aphids have three body segments: head, thorax, and abdomen. Because their heads are narrower than the rest of their body, they have a pear-shaped appearance. The back section of aphids is broad because that is where they carry their young; it is also where aphids release honeydew, a sweet, sticky substance that is the byproduct of the sap they draw from plants. Honeydew produces shiny areas on leaves, bark, and objects underneath the plants where aphids feed. Furthermore, sooty mold grows on honeydew and creates dark, fuzzy splotches. 

Another distinguishing feature of aphids is the two tubes, known as cornicles, that protrude at the end of the abdomen. They release pheromones through these tailpipes to communicate, which other aphids detect through their long antennae. These appendages may be long or short, depending on the species.

Like all insects, aphids have an external skeleton known as an exoskeleton. While this shell protects their body and holds internal organs, it prevents them from progressing through growth stages; thus, they must shed their skin before entering each of their four phases through a process known as molting. The presence of discarded skin casts on leaves is a sign that you have aphids. 

If you grew up playing hide and seek, you know children often hide near each other. Aphids are no different. These social insects live in groups of hundreds or more on a plant or tree. Aphids live on the underside of leaves, developing stems and flower buds. In other words, they live wherever they can access the sap. 

In addition to noticing a blob of aphids, you may see many ants in the same area. Many ant species like to consume the honeydew aphids produce and are aphid allies. Because ants do not want to lose their food source, they transport aphids to new plants and protect them from predators like predatory midges and parasitoid wasps.

Because temperatures in Katy are 70°F to 90°F most of the year and our air is humid, brown patch fungus is an issue for many homeowners. Brown patch is not an insect but a fungus that affects warm-season grasses like Augustine, Bermuda, and Zoysia, particularly during the late summer and early fall. 

Returning to our insects, the next invader on our list is chinch bugs. Adult chinch bugs have a 1/5-inch black body with white wings. You can identify these flying insects by the triangular-like shapes on the outer margins of their long or short wings. You will find groups of these bugs feeding on various warm-season grasses.

Grubs, also called June bugs, are beetle larvae. These brown-headed, c-shaped, 1-inch whitish larvae feed on the roots of warm-season grasses, weeds, vegetables, and ornamental plants and are problematic during the spring months. 

Another honeydew-producing insect is scale. These 5/16-inch soft-bodied insects cover their bodies with wax to protect them from the elements and predators. These waxy, round, or rice-shaped body covers are of various colors, depending on their environment and the predators in the area. In addition to their waxy appearance, you can identify scales because they tend to invade holly and other ornamental plants.

The last lawn destroyer on our list is sod webworms. Also known as lawn moths, these dingy brown flying moths produce the caterpillar larvae that are the bain of many lawns. These immature translucent green insects have yellowish-brown heads and dark-colored plates covering their body segments. Initial signs of sod webworms include notched and ragged grass blades; if left untreated, blotches of damaged areas will appear on the lawn. Low-flying moths are another sign of sod webworms or an impending infestation. 

Modern Pest Control provides lawn and pest solutions for whatever ails your lawn. We will end the pest problem and restore your lawn to its former glory. 

The Impact On Your Landscape: Consequences Of Lawn Pests

Spending significant money to fertilize, seed, and maintain your lawn has many rewards. A sense of satisfaction comes with sitting on the porch, sipping a cold glass of iced tea while enjoying the beauty of the lush, green landscape. Unfortunately, lawn pests disrupt and destroy any pleasure you derive from having a well-maintained lawn. Now that we have examined the main culprits extensively, we will discuss the damage they cause to our properties. 

Aphids draw sap from growing plants to produce honeydew. Although ants enjoy eating this sweet substance, it does nothing for the plants. Removing the sap from plants is like draining blood from a mammal; it takes out nutrition from the life-giving substance. When aphids attack and drain the sap, plant leaves twist, curl, and turn yellow. Soon, the plant has deed shoots, and growth is stunted and poor. 

Aphids remove the life force from plants and can transfer viruses between plants, including the cucumber mosaic virus. These infections also cause leaves to mottle, yellow, or curl. Viruses like the cucumber mosaic virus harm the growth of vegetables (e.g., squash, tomato, pumpkin, melon, beans, lettuce, cucumber, etc.) and annuals and perennials (e.g., impatiens, petunia, rudbeckia., etc.). 

As previously mentioned, ants feed on honeydew aphids produce. Ants are social creatures that create large colonies in the soil or wood (carpenter ants). One ant species that loves honeydew is the dreaded fire ants. These ants inflict painful, itchy blisters on their human and animal victims; fire ants also build unsightly large two-to-four-foot irregular mounds in the yard, marring the landscape and potentially causing harm to mowers. 

Although many insects benefit from aphid-produced honeydew, this sticky substance coats plants, trees, car windshields, and lawn furniture. Honeydew attracts sooty mold, a fungus that causes dark, fuzzy blotches on leaves and branches.

While aphids and other insects harm plants and trees, brown patch fungus hurts grasses. This fungus creates circular, donut-shaped, thinning patches of light brown grass and causes unsightly areas ranging from a few inches to several feet in diameter.

Chinch bugs also harm grasses along with brown patch fungus. Like aphids, they used their mouthparts to pierce sap from the base and stems of St. Augustine, bermudagrass, zoysiagrass, and other warm-season grasses. What often begins as small, irregular patches expand throughout the yard or along the edges of sidewalks and driveways in the summer months. After chinch bugs kill the grass in one area, they travel to another area and continue to destroy the lawn. 

Grubs chew away the turfgrass roots to the point you can roll up the grass like carpet. In addition to destroying the grass, moles, raccoons, skunks, and armadillos feed on grubs, and when these animals are present, you have a whole host of other problems. Although they don't damage lawns to the same extent, sod webworms create spotty, unsightly patches on the lawn where they feed at night. 

Although scale insects do not kill plants as frequently as aphids, they weaken them as they drain the sap. Furthermore, the honeydew they produce attracts sooty mold, which we previously discussed. 

Modern Pest Control has pest and lawn solutions for the problems these common invaders cause. 

Eco-Friendly Approaches: Natural Solutions For Lawn Pest Prevention

You do not have to live at the mercy of these lawn invaders. Once Modern Pest Control trained pest management professionals bring the problem under control, we recommend the following to deter the issue from occurring in the future: 

  • Use high-pressure water spray to remove the invaders from plants.
  • Water early in the morning and use only as much as needed. 
  • Avoid overfertilizing in the spring and fall. 
  • Provide good drainage on the property to prevent moist patches.
  • Mow the grass cut short frequently.

When a certified Modern Pest Control pest management professional inspects your property for lawn pest control service, we can make additional suggestions for the specific species infesting your property. 

When To Call The Professionals: Signs You Need Expert Lawn Pest Help

When you notice notched or raggy-edged grass, brown patches, or shiny and dark blotches on plants, stop additional damage to your yard by contacting Modern Pest Control for lawn pest control. 

We will dispatch an experienced, trained pest management professional to your home to investigate the infestation signs you see on your property. Our pest management professional will identify the pest or fungus invading your lawn and the attractants to your property. Furthermore, our pest management professionals can determine if the invader is creating additional insect or rodent infestations so we can stop the problematic pests before they invade your home. 

Once we gather information and complete our investigation, we will create a treatment plan to prevent the invaders from further damaging the property. Although the suggestions above will deter future infestation, resolving the current issue begins with product application. We use effective, environmentally friendly products and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) solutions to eliminate invaders and create a barrier around the home to deter future pests from entering the premises. 

The best way to ensure the barrier around your home remains strong and effective is by utilizing one of our many service plan options. When you contact us, we will explain your treatment options so you can determine which one is best for you. Call us today to learn more and schedule your free, no-obligation inspection.

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