Chinch Bugs in Michigan Lawns

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Throughout August we have been seeing quite a few different lawns with chinch bug activity.  These tiny insects can cause extensive damage to the lawn when they feed on grass.  If your lawn appears to be struggling even with regular watering, chinch bugs could possibly be the cause:

What are they?

Chinch bugs are very small insects, with adults just 1/6” to 1/5” long.  Young chinch bugs are red with white stripes, wingless, and typically cause the most damage.  Adults have black bodies, a white triangular marking, and may or may not have wings.

What do they do?

Chinch bugs attack the grass plant by piercing the blade, extracting juice, and leaving in it a small amount of toxin that make it difficult for the grass to recover.  This results in patches that turn yellow and often start to die off completely.  Damage can start in late spring and continue until October, but is typically is most identifiable in mid-summer, when the weather is more hot and dry. 

How do you find them?

You can get a better idea of whether or not your lawn damage is due to chinch bugs by taking a close look at the lawn.   The best time to inspect for chinch bugs is in the afternoon, when they are most active in the heat of the day.  Examine the healthy grass around the edges of the damaged grass and look for any insects.  If you notice quite a few chinch bugs, you may have a problem.   If you’re finding it hard to tell what’s there, you can essentially “flush them out” with a coffee can.  Remove both the top and the bottom of the can (or something similar in size) and push one end into the soil about two inches down.  Fill the can with water until it settles about 2”-3” above the soil and keep it filled at that level for about five minutes.  If you have a chinch bug issue, you will see quite a few floating to the surface of the water.

How do you get rid of them?

Insecticide applications are very successful in controlling chinch bugs.  AAA Lawn Care uses granular insecticide that is activated when watered into the lawn either by sprinkling or the next rainfall.

It should be noted that chinch bug damage can look similar to that of an under-watered lawn, but won’t bounce back once it’s well-irrigated.  It also can resemble several different lawn diseases so, if you’re not sure whether or not it’s chinch bugs, please do not hesitate to call us at (888) 374-7336 AAA Lawn Care technician assess the lawn for you.

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Grub Control in Grand Rapids - A simple overview

Grub Control in Grand Rapids - A simple overview

Having grubs in your lawn can be very frustrating.  Damage usually occurs quickly.  It's unsightly.  Sometimes damage from grubs can be amplified by a hungry skunk peeling up your lawn to get a late night grub snack.  If your lawn has a grub infestation, solving the problem doesn't have to be complicated.  Here is some helpful information to keep in mind...

#1  If you have active grubs damaging your lawn, have a curative grub control application applied immediately.  This application will kill the grubs and halt any further damage.  You will have to water this application in within 24 hours for it to be effective.

#2  Grub damage typically occurs during the Spring and Fall.  During the Summer, grubs take on the form of Japanese beetles or European Chaffers.  These beetles mate and lay eggs starting the next generation of grubs.

#3  If your lawn is showing signs of distress or is starting to turn brown in certain areas during the Spring or Fall, your lawn might have grubs.  Grab the turf by your hand and pull.  If the turf pulls away, look for grubs.  Grubs eat grass plant roots.  This allows the turf to pull away from the soil easily.

#4  Another tell tale sign is that flocks of starlings or other birds will peck into the soil in the distressed areas looking for grubs.  Look for pencil diameter holes in the soil from the bird's probing beak.

#5  If you have grub damage or have neighbors who have a grub infestation, we high recommend a summer grub control application.  This application disrupts the grub life cycle and protects your lawn from grub infestations for a full year.

I hope this helps.  Always feel free to call our office if you suspect a grub problem and would like some help in identifying the issue or need help with control options.

 

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Proper Grub Control Can Save Your Yard

 grub controlWhat Are Grubs?
Grubs are the larvae form of a beetle, sometimes called a white grub, june bug, or other kind of beetle. The c-shaped pale insects feed on the roots of grass and can cause the grass to die. The brown dead patches can be large or small, depending upon how big the grub population is.

Lawn care experts say that the best way to determine if a lawn needs grub control treatment is to check a one foot square area of the yard. Digging two inches down, a simple count of the number of grubs in the one foot square area will indicate if the yard needs to be treated. If, for example, more than ten grubs are found there, the yard needs a grub control treatment.

How Do I Know If My Yard Has Grubs?
Even before dead brown patches appear in a yard, another indicator can signal the infestation of grubs. Moles, and other small burrowing animals, often feed on a yard with grubs. These furry animals may be an indicator of a problem below the grass.

In addition to looking for animals that feed on grubs, lawn service companies also recommend checking the yard as it greens up in the spring. A small brown patch could be an indicator of a grub problem that began the previous fall. If the sod rolls up like a piece of carpet, it is likely that the yard has grubs and should be treated.

What Is the Best Way to Prevent Grubs?
For many home owners, the best way to prevent any lawn problem is by applying scheduled lawn treatments. Though some home owners do this on their own, some of the best lawns are a product of professional lawn fertilization services. These professional companies make it their business to know what is the best time, often based on temperature and rainfall, to treat a yard. Scheduled applications of fertilizers, grub control, and other services will produce a lush, thick lawn.

In addition to looking great, a thick green yard can also prevent run off of water, possibly reducing the needed amount of irrigation and sprinkler services necessary. In fact, the thickest yard can absorb nearly six times as much rainfall as a wheat field and four times as much as a field of hay. A yard that absorbs water is a healthy lawn.

Even if you are not planning a backyard graduation party, it should come as no surprise that most home owners think of a yard as a valuable extension of their home. For instance, a lush yard combined with well designed and maintained landscaping can add as much as 15% to 20% of value to a property. For these reasons, Americans as a whole spend as much as $40 billion a year maintaining their yards and landscaping.

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What is ripping up my beautiful lawn?

If you have lawn damage that looks like this, then you probably have a skunk for a neighbor...

Every year we get calls from people who wake up one morning to find that their once beautiful lawn has been torn to shreds.  The damage looks like little holes have been dug everywhere or small patches of turf have been peeled away from the soil.  The lawn damage looks terrible.  What could have possible done this?

More than likely your lawn was the scene of a lavish dinner of succulent white grubs for your friendly neighborhood skunk.  Skunks love grubs. They peel back or dig little holes in the turf searching for their dinner.  Damage occurs at night because skunks are nocturnal animals.  Also, skunk damage due to grub problems only really occur in the Spring or Fall.  Those are the two seasons when grubs are active in lawns.

So what do we do?  Regardless of whether or not the skunk ripped up the lawn or not, the lawn was probably going to suffer damage from the grubs anyway.  We would recommend a curative grub control product like Dylox to elimate any grubs in the lawn.  We would also recommend a preventative grub control product be applied in the Summer to prevent further grub infestations.  Take care of grubs, take care of the skunks.  Good Luck!

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The Truth About Sod Webworms in Home Lawns

The reason why we felt we needed to write a blog post about "The Truth About Sod Webworms" is because of some misleading advertisments from local garden centers encouraging customers to buy insectides to combat sod webworms based on inaccurate information.  

Seeing pale brown moths flying out of your grass is not a tell tale sign of sod webworms.  In fact, these sob webworm moths do not cause damage to turf at all.  A second inaccuracy is that "spider webs" in your lawn are a tell tale sign of sod webworms.  Sod webworms don't weave webs.   Having moths and/or spiderwebs in your lawn does not mean you have sod webworms that will destroy your lawn.  Save your money.  If damage does occur, consult with a lawn care professional to correctly identify the reason.  

Sod webworms are a common surface feeding insect that can damage lawns in Michigan.  They live in virtually everyone's lawn, but most of the time we never notice damage because there aren't enough webworm larvae or the lawn is healthy and strong enough to repair itself.  No harm, no foul.  However, there are times when sod webworms become a problem and damage turf.  Damage usually manifests itself as irregular dead patches that spread over time.  The grass blades seem to cut off at the crown and sometime you can see little balls of worm dropping or frass.  They particularly like Kentucky Bluegrass.  The best way to treat sod webworms is to treat maintain a healthy lawn and only use turf insecticides if damage begins to occur.

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Grubs! Now what?

This is the time of year where we start getting calls from homeowners asking us to stop by and see why patches of their Michigan lawn is dead or torn up by some type of animal. Well, the damage is almost always caused by grubs. Grubs feed on the roots of your grass until the grass plant dies.

Lawns that are torn up are caused by skunks or even turkeys looking for and eating grubs hiding just under the grass. You may also see large numbers of blackbirds poking around dying areas of your lawn. They are looking for grubs as well.

To find grubs, simply grab areas of grass where the damage is taking place and it should pull up easily and reveal grubs underneath. Sometimes it takes a little digging around. Grubs are only active in the Spring and Fall. Grubs in the Spring transform into beetles. These beetles mate and lay eggs in the Summer. The eggs hatch and form new grubs which can damage lawns in the Fall. The Fall grubs dig deep into the soil to overwinter then emerge in the Spring to start the cycle over again.

Once you have determined that there is a grub problem, it is a simple process to control them. Apply a curative grub control application to effective stop any more damage from occurring. Then apply a preventative grub control application in the Summer to stop the grub life cycle in its tracks. The Summer grub preventative application will keep grubs out of your lawn for a full year. Areas damaged by grubs may come back on there own depending on the severity of the damage. However, I always recommend overseeding to get your lawn back in shape as quickly as possible. Have a great weekend!

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The Fall Grub Season Is Here!

One of our technicians was called to a lawn that was not looking right. He pulled up the turf and this is what he found. Grubs. Everywhere.

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AAA Lawn Care14202 Ironwood Dr. NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49534
616-677-4000