When the weather’s nice, nothing beats staying outside and frolicking in your lush, green grass. However, you may not be the only one enjoying your lawn. In Charlotte, North Carolina, there are plenty of bugs and pests that love to call your yard home. We want to show you the most common lawn pests you can find in this region and how to remove them for good.
Signs of Lawn Pest Damage
Depending on which pest chooses to invade your grass, there are several warning signs to pay attention to before calling an exterminator. Let’s break down the different indicators:
- Wilting Blades
- Dead and Dying Grass Patches
- Bite Marks on Grass
- Brown Spots
- Dead Insects or Larvae in the Grass
You may also notice some holes or exposed or missing roots in your yard.
Common Lawn Pests
These pests are actually the larval stage of various scarab beetles, such as the Japanese Beetle. These insects lay their eggs in the soil in the fall, and they emerge in the spring to feed on grassroots and other organic matter. Depending on the species, lawn grubs may stay in this stage for a few weeks before mutating into pupae and then beetles.
- Appearance – Lawn grubs are generally white and resemble giant maggots. They have tiny legs near their heads, and they’re often C-shaped, even while moving around and feeding.
- Damage – Since these grubs feed on grass roots, they can cause brown and dead spots in your lawn.
- Prevalence – The Japanese Beetle is the most common species in North Carolina and does the most damage. Other lawn grub species include the Green June Beetle and the Southern and Northern Masked Chafers.
- Time Period – Adult beetles lay eggs in the fall, and they stay unhatched during the winter. In the spring, the eggs hatch and turn into lawn grubs. Summertime is when the pupae hatch and turn into adults, and the cycle begins again.
Fire ants are the most common lawn pest in the United States, not just in North Carolina. Most yards will experience a fire ant infestation at some point. Making matters worse is the fact that the ants can come back after getting removed. These pests are dangerous and pervasive, which is why you should eradicate them as quickly as possible.
- Appearance – Fire ants are so named because they have a red exoskeleton with a black abdomen. Soldier ants have a large stinger that they use to attack intruders, including humans.
- Damage – These ants burrow under your yard and create mounds of dirt for entrances and exits. As the colony grows, it can kill off patches of grass since the roots can’t extract as many nutrients from the soil.
- Prevalence – Fire ants can be found in at least 75 of North Carolina’s counties, making them one of the most widespread pests in the state.
- Time Period – Another reason for this pest’s name is that they like hot, arid climates. Fire ants are most active when outdoor temperatures are between 72 and 96 degrees Fahrenheit, which is most of the year for Charlotte residents.
As far as lawn destruction goes, chinch bugs do the most damage of any other pest we’ve seen so far. A big reason why these pests are so destructive is that they can spread quickly, and the adults are resistant to most insecticides. So, if you discover chinch bugs in your yard, you’ll need to call the professionals at Carolina Pest Management.
- Appearance – Chinch bugs have a multi-stage life cycle from egg to adult. At each stage, the bugs look a bit different. Once fully grown, chinch bugs have a brown exoskeleton with white wings.
- Damage – These pests feed on grass and inject toxins into the blades. An infestation can kill vast swathes of your lawn. Another issue with chinch bugs is that many homeowners misidentify why their grass is dying and blame disease, not pests.
- Prevalence – Chinch bugs prefer St. Augustine grass, so if you have it in your yard, you need to be extra vigilant.
- Time Period – Chinch bugs thrive in warmer climates, so they’re most active during the spring and summer. In southern states like North Carolina, they’re active for most of the year.
While regular crickets don’t damage your lawn, the Tawny Mole Cricket can do some serious damage to your grass. The reason this cricket species is so destructive is that it feeds exclusively on grass roots and shoots. Additionally, the cricket burrows underground, creating holes underneath your yard.
- Appearance – These insects are brown with a larger head compared to the rest of its body. As with other crickets, the Tawny Mole Cricket has substantial hind legs.
- Damage – These crickets can cause dead zones in your lawn as they feed on your grass and tunnel through the dirt.
- Prevalence – Tawny Mole Crickets are widespread throughout the southern U.S., particularly in the Carolinas.
- Time Period – These crickets reach adulthood primarily in the fall and spring, so that’s when they’re the most active and destructive.
Unlike the other pests we’ve seen, moles are mammals, not invertebrates. Also, unlike other pests, moles don’t reproduce in high numbers, but they can nonetheless wreak havoc on your lawn. Since moles are burrowing creatures, they can tear up your yard and kill your grass relatively quickly. You can spot moles easily by the mounds they leave on your lawn.
- Appearance – Moles are relatively small furry creatures with pointed noses and webbed feet. Their front feet are much larger than the back ones so that they can tunnel more easily.
- Damage – If left unchecked, moles can create extensive tunnels throughout your yard, making it dangerous to walk around. These tunnels can collapse if you walk over them, and they can damage roots.
- Prevalence – North Carolina has three species of moles. Since these creatures don’t reproduce in high numbers, they’re rarer than other pests on this list.
- Time Period – Moles are active all year round, but they do most of their digging during the morning or evening.
How to Treat Lawn Pests
Once you’ve identified the pests that have taken over your lawn, you need to take action. Here are some standard pest control methods you can try:
- DIY Pesticides – If you go this route, you have to be careful where and how you put chemical treatments. If you have pets, you need to be extra cautious as they can get poisoned relatively easily.
- Professional Pest Control – One issue with DIY treatments is that you might not get rid of the pests entirely, especially if you don’t know how to apply pesticide products. Professional companies like Carolina Pest Management offer comprehensive removal and prevention services so that your lawn stays pest-free for longer. They can also help you identify which pest is causing damage to your lawn if you’re unsure.
Remove Lawn Pests With Carolina Pest
Don’t let pests take over your yard! Call us as soon as you notice any signs of damage, and we’ll come to do a site inspection. Get more from your lawn by letting Carolina Pest Management do the dirty work.