Florida is home to beautiful lush gardens, swaying palm trees, and water-filled pools. But when a hungry pest eats your garden for dinner, there’s trouble in paradise. Worse, the pest could wander into your neighbor’s yard.
Learn how to get rid of Florida lawn pests so you can keep your lawn beautiful and your neighbors happy. Your lawn provides food for many pests, including moles, which burrow underground for earthworms, and white maggots, which feed on the lawn’s roots.
Florida Lawn Pests And How To Get Rid Of Them
Tropical Lawn Webworm
When patches of grass appear shorter than the surrounding lawn, tropical lawn webworms may be grazing on the lawn. These caterpillars start at 0.75 to 1 inch long and are grayish-green in color. And the more grass they eat, the greener they become.
Signs of spiderwort damage to tropical lawns include Lots of light green caterpillar droppings Sparse grass and brown patches Irregular blades of grass that appear shorter than the surrounding grass.
The blades of grass appear indented as if sections have been chewed off, but are active year-round in South Florida.
How To Get Rid Of Webworms In Tropical Lawns Improve Lawn Care.
Healthy lawn grasses are more resistant to tropical lawn webworms than unhealthy lawn grasses. The bacterial insecticides Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki and Aizawa can help control webworms in lawns without harming beneficial organisms.
If the infestation is severe and improving lawn care doesn’t remedy the damage, apply a pesticide labeled to control caterpillars.
A severe infestation can quickly lead to significant damage. Damage often appears as large patches of dead grass in late summer or early fall. Fall armyworms grow up to 1.5 inches in length and their dark head is marked with a light-colored “Y”.
They tend to appear in large numbers, which is not surprising considering armyworm moths can lay up to 10 egg masses, each containing 100 to 200 eggs. And unlike cutworms, which prefer to feed at night, fall armyworms are active at all times of the day.
Getting Rid of Fall Armyworms
If your lawn suffers from fall armyworms, it will usually recover on its own if the damage is minimal. However, if the infestation is severe, use a pesticide labeled for caterpillar control.
If your lawn could have lice, it would be bed bugs. Bed bugs are tiny insects that suck juices from the lawn and inject a toxin that turns the grass yellow.
Adult bed bugs are black, about a fifth of an inch long, and have white spots on their wings. Nymphs (aka baby bed bugs) are tiny, wingless, and have red or orange markings.
Cut off both ends of a can. Place one end of the can firmly on the lawn where you suspect bed bug activity. Fill the can with water and see if the bed bugs swim to the surface. You may have to wait 10 minutes before the bed bugs float to the surface.
Don’t confuse the useful big-eyed bug with a bed bug. Big-eyed bed bugs look exactly like bed bugs, except they have large, bulging eyes. They are predators of bed bugs and help control an infestation.
Get Rid of Bed Bugs
The best way to save your Florida lawn from bed bugs is to remove excess thatch that bed bugs love. Next, overseed your lawn with a bed bug damage-resistant grass seed.
According to PestPro magazine, warm-season grasses millipedes, beach paspalum, and bahiagrass are the least susceptible to southern stink bugs. Use pesticides as a last resort if infestations are severe.
You should avoid pesticides as much as possible, as they often damage the natural predators that bed bugs eat. Removing predators is likely to make bed bugs return. Always read and follow the instructions on the product label.
Ground pearls are tiny insects that suck root juices from your weed. Sometimes these pests are visible on the surface, but they can also hide inches underground. Ground pearls are usually white, light brown, or pink.
Damage from ground pearls usually begins as circular grass-yellow spots that eventually turn brown. or dead grass. These spots can range from a few centimeters to a few feet and are slowly expanding each year.
Lawns that experience stress such as drought or nutrient deficiencies are more likely to have bead mill damage than healthy lawns.
Getting Rid Of Ground Pearls
The best way to deal with ground pearls is with good lawn care. Healthy lawn grasses are more tolerant of the activity of ground beads.
Centipedes are particularly susceptible to damage from ground pearls. a type of grass that is more tolerant of ground pearls.
According to the North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Zoysiagrass ‘El Toro’ and Bermudagrass ‘Celebration’ show tolerance to ground pearls. No pesticides on the market target ground pearls.
- You May Like: Centipedegrass Lawn Maintenance Guide
earthworms are 2-inch caterpillars that feed through the grass near the soil surface. There are many different types of earthworms and it can be difficult to distinguish between the larval species.
During the day, caterpillars hide in the straw layer of the lawn and come out at night to feed in the grass. Damage often looks like circular patches of dead grass with small holes, like ball prints on greens. Damage is most noticeable on lawns with a grass height of fewer than 0.5 inches.
Getting Rid Of Earthworms
There are three common methods that Floridians use to get rid of earthworms in their yard, combined with thatch removal. Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki is a bacterium that produces a toxin that paralyzes the caterpillar’s intestines and prevents it from feeding.
Steinernema carpocapsae is a nematode that invades the nematode, introduces a bacterium and causes infection in the host.
Apply a chemical insecticide that targets earthworms. Read and follow all instructions. The University of Massachusetts Amherst recommends applying the control agent (either a biological control agent or a chemical insecticide) when the caterpillars are small, about 0.25 inches long.
Double Lined Spitter
In its adult stage, the double-lined spit bug is a small black insect with two horizontal orange lines down its back. The nymph is yellowish-green in color and shelters itself in a mass of secreted saliva.
Double-row spit bugs are often a problem with grass centipedes as they suck the juices from the grass. If the infestation is severe, the grass may turn yellow or brown and eventually die.
Keeping your lawn healthy and well cared for will help it better tolerate damage from spit bugs. When pesticides are needed to control a serious infestation, chemical options for Florida lawns include pyrethroids such as bifenthrin, cyfluthrin, and permethrin.
Moe Harassing Wildlife
Either someone is digging in your yard for buried treasure, or pesky wildlife is to blame. Wild animals like armadillos, moles, and ground squirrels like to look for larvae on your lawn.
But not all pesky wildlife dig up the ground. Some animals will simply frequent the lawn, such as possums and skunks. Most people don’t want these animals as visitors: possums can carry diseases and skunks can spray your pets.
Methods for eliminating nuisance wildlife vary depending on the animal visiting your yard and the severity of the situation. Florida has laws that protect wildlife and the environment from unnecessary harm.
Treat, contact a local pest control company who will take care of the pest for you. For more information on wildlife control in Florida, visit the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
In Florida, it is illegal to control pest wildlife with non-pesticide poisons that are registered with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
If a mole and a cricket had a child, it would be a mole cricket. that looks strangely like a mole’s legs. When mole crickets dig their tunnels on the surface, they cut through grassroots and create mounds of dirt on the ground.
As a result, the ground can feel spongy when walking because the grass has separated from the ground. Damage caused by mole crickets appears as brown patches of dead or dying grass.
Mole crickets are active year-round in Florida but are most likely to damage lawns in the spring or fall. They do most of their tunneling and fly at night (yes, those critters can fly!
Getting Rid of Mole Crickets
Biological control (fighting a pest with a natural enemy or predator) is an environmentally friendly method of attacking mole crickets. According to the University of Florida IFAS Extension, biological control rarely eliminates the pest, but it does help reduce damage to host plants.
The Larra wasp (Larra bicolor) is a natural predator of the mole cricket. The wasp lays its eggs on mole crickets, and its young feed on the mole cricket and continue to develop.
Once the hatchling is fully grown, it consumes the mole cricket. Each Larra wasp generation kills about a quarter of the native mole. cricket population. This rate is remarkable considering that mole crickets have only one generation per year and Larra wasps have three.
Larra wasps are not aggressive toward humans.
They would rather fly than sting you. To attract these wasps to your Florida garden, plant a false bush button (Spermacoce verticillata), partridge (Chamaecrista fasciculata), or Egyptian starflower (Pentas lanceolate) (white).
The parasitic nematode Steinernema scapterisci enters the body of the mole cricket, releases a bacterium that kills the cricket, and multiplies. After exiting the mole cricket’s body, the newly produced nematodes search the ground for another mole cricket. Nematodes are sold online and in garden centers.
Insecticides are another option for controlling mole crickets. Remember to read and follow all product label directions to ensure proper application and timing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Still, need more answers? Explore the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) here.
How To Get Rid Of Pests In Florida?
Use Milky Spores. That’s the way it is. Rinse water, also known as gray water, is good for your lawn.
Dishwashing detergent like Fairy Liquid also helps to “dilute” the water, allowing it to flow through areas of stuck dirt.
Will My Florida Lawn Recover From Maggots?
Some areas need scraping, adding soil, and seeding. However, some areas may just justify cutting for repair. In any case, they will not recover by themselves.
Do I Need To Treat My Florida Lawn Every Year To Kill Larvae?
You don’t need to use larval control annually unless you see larval damage. If you’ve been treating your lawn with a preventative and deadly agent for years, it may be time to stop until you start noticing signs of recurring maggot damage. Larvae may not be a big problem on healthy lawns.
How Do I Treat My Florida Lawn Against Pests?
Spraying your garden with an insecticide before the peak season can be an effective preventive measure. Derek Gaughan, the founder of Bug Lord, recommends using a product with the active ingredient bifenthrin; This is an insecticide that controls various backyard insects including ticks, ants, flies, and mosquitoes.
When Should I Apply Insecticide To My Florida Lawn?
The final approach is to do nothing (as far as insecticides go) and repair damaged areas of the lawn when larval damage occurs.
Late June to early August is the best time to apply a preventive insecticide. There are several insecticides available to commercial users to control white maggot disease.
You may not want to handle chemical pesticides yourself. Have a local pest control expert handle your lawn pest problem for you.
Say goodbye to blood-sucking pests and relax in your sunny Florida backyard. With the right control measures, you can put an end to these pests.
And remember good lawn care to ensure they don’t come back (pests love a scruffy lawn).
Our guide covers Florida lawn pests and how to get rid of them.