Most Wanted List: Four Pests That Pose a Threat to Your Yard

By TruGreen March 10, 2015
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Stop insects from ruining your lawn before they start. The TruGreen® Tree and Shrub program limits the damage caused by most pests.
Four pests that pose a threat to your yard

Most Wanted List: Four Pests That Pose A Threat To Your Yard

You’ve got the mowing down. You’re watering your lawn like a pro. Everything is looking great, but there’s a tiny problem. So tiny you can’t even see it. 


We’re talking bugs.  Insects can deplete your lawn of vital nutrients (and undermine your hard-earned landscaping wins) in a short period of time. Here are a few of the most notorious suspects, the damage they can cause, and steps you can take to prevent their takeover.

Chinch Bugs

Chinch bugs are tiny insects that feed on the juice in blades of grass. If you see large brown patches of grass, chinch bugs may be the root cause.

 

Why Should I Be Concerned?

  • They reproduce in large numbers, taking on your lawn en masse (like a weather front moving through), and can attack several times in one season.
  • They thrive in hot and dry weather conditions when turfgrass is already at risk.
  • Their small size makes chinch bugs difficult to detect until lawn damage is noticed.
  • They can kill large areas of grass or even entire lawns. The damage caused is usually permanent, and requires renovation by seeding or sodding, which can be costly.

What Can I Do?

Manage thatch — the layer of living and dead roots, stems and shoots. Thatch provides a natural cover for chinch bug activity.?Water heavily once or twice a week. The water increases the hardiness of the turfgrass and provides a less favorable environment for the insects.

Gypsy Moths

These critters wreak havoc on your trees by feeding on the leaves of many different trees and ornamental shrubs. The caterpillars hatch in late April or early May, and climb to the foliage-heavy tops of the trees. They disperse by spinning a thread and using wind currents to blow them from tree to tree, much like a spider.


Why Should I Be Concerned?

  • They can consume large amounts of foliage quickly, causing severe defoliation to even very large trees.
  • They’re an eyesore, leaving behind unattractive, tan egg cases on stems of leaves.
  • They repopulate rapidly since each egg mass contains as many as a thousand eggs.
  • They leave your trees and plants weakened and susceptible to borers (insects that penetrate the wood of the tree) and severe winter temperatures.

What Can I Do?

  • Destroy egg masses found on tree trunks or other surfaces by putting them in a jar of soapy water, diluted chlorine bleach or diluted alcohol.
  • Remove unnecessary yard objects, dead branches, firewood and other debris that could provide shelter for resting larvae and egg masses.
  • If you’re still in the planting consideration phase, plant trees that aren’t preferred by gypsy moths, such as walnut, ash, tulip poplar, locust or sycamore.

Japanese Beetles

Adult Japanese beetles are about half an inch long, and appear metallic-green in color with copper-brown wing covers. Japanese beetle infestations spread as adults fly in search of food and sites for laying eggs.


Why Should I Be Concerned?

  • They feed on leaves, consuming everything but the leaf vein.
  • They leave your plants looking like they’ve been scorched by fire.
  • They can leave your plants seriously stressed since they damage leaves, where trees generate their food.
  • They are impossible to completely eradicate, but it is very important to suppress them.


What Can I Do?

Avoid using beetle traps. They will only attract more Japanese beetles to your property.?If the adult population isn't overwhelming, hand-pick them off your plants, or vacuum them with a hand vacuum.

Plant things they don’t enjoy eating like Four-o'clocks, larkspur, geraniums, calladium, forget-me-not, coralbells or cornflower.

Flea or Tick Infestation

While these two common pests make their homes in environments, their risks to people and pets are both very dangerous and bothersome. 


Fleas frequent warm, humid areas. Ticks like heavily wooded regions and areas with brush, thick and tall grass coupled with a moist environment. Fleas and ticks are also both difficult to control, which is why we suggest more than one application.


Why Should I Be Concerned?

Their bites are painful and dangerous, especially ticks that can transmit sometimes fatal Lyme disease.?They’re nearly impossible to eradicate  without professional treatments.


What Can I Do?

  • Have a veterinarian treat all pets for fleas and ticks. Keep pets on an ongoing flea and tick control program.
  • Wash all pet bedding in hot, soapy water.
  • Have a professional pest control company treat the inside of your home.

Feeling overwhelmed? There’s a reason pests are called “pests.” We’re happy to lend a hand in warding off these nasty nuisances together. The TruGreen® Tree and Shrub program limits the damage caused by most pests. Call us today. 800-464-0171

Need Help? Call 1-800-464-0171

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