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Don’t Let Your Lawn Be Attacked by One of These 4 Summer Lawn Pests

 In Blog, Gardening, Pest Control

Don't Let Your Lawn Be Attacked by One of These 4 Summer Lawn Pests

While lawn problems can occur at any time throughout the year, the hot and humid summer months can make your lawn vulnerable to a wide range of pests and diseases. Identifying problems before they get out of hand is essential to maintaining your lawn healthy and lush. Let’s take a look at four of the most troublesome and common lawn insect pests and what to do to identify and control them efficiently.

Chinch Bugs

Chinch bugs are one of the most widespread lawn pests in many areas of Canada. They kill grass by injecting toxic substances into plants during feeding. Chinch bugs are active all summer long, but cause most damage during July and August, when the weather is hot and dry.

Signs of infestation:

  • Scattered patches of wilted grass
  • Color of infested areas changes from green to yellow and eventually brown
  • Damage most likely to appear on dry slopes or near pavement

Sod webworms

Sod webworm is a term describing several species of lawn-infesting caterpillars that live in the thatch level of the lawn and feed on the undersides of leaves and stems just above the crown. Turfgrasses most susceptible to larval damage include fine fescue, Kentucky bluegrass, bentgrass, and buffalo grass.

Signs of infestation:

  • Damage is seen as brown patches up to the size of a baseball
  • The presence of silken tunnels and moist frass (green fecal pellets)
  • Areas infested by sod webworms are not surrounded by rich, green grass and do not turn yellow before turning brown

White Grubs

Toronto White Grub Worms Control

The most common white grubs infesting lawns in Canada – and one of the most difficult to control – are the larval stage of the native June beetles, or June bugs. They chew off the roots of turfgrasses near the surface or just below the thatch layer, favoring the fibrous roots of farm and garden crops and potato tubers.

Signs of infestation:

  • Gradual thinning and weakening of grass
  • In affected areas, the grass turns brown and starts wilting, while the turf feels soft and spongy
  • Sod that is heavily infested is not well anchored and can easily be pulled loose


This destructive lawn pest gets its name from the fact that it travels in small armies and eats everything in its path. They are most active at night, hiding in plants and under garden debris during daytime. Infestations are most common in cool, wet weather, which is thought to slow down the development of parasites that control armyworm populations.

Signs of infestation:

  • Damage is most visible near the edges of the grass
  • The appearance of brown patches in the lawn as the larvae continue feeding
  • Glass blades are ragged and may be sheared to the ground

You Don’t Have to Use Pesticides for a Healthy Lawn

You Don’t Have to Use Pesticides for a Healthy Lawn

While reaching for lawn care chemicals is an easy solution to killing invaders and keeping your lawn healthy, they can have devastating effects on the health of your family and the environment. A more effective and environmentally-friendly way of dealing with pest problems is Integrated Pest Management (IPM), whose goals are to:

  • Minimize the amount of products and methods that are hazardous to human health
  • Be the least toxic to organisms that are not being targeted
  • Cause the least damage to the general environment
  • Produce permanent reduction of pest populations
  • Be cost-effective in the short- and long-term

IPM combines all available pest control methods to keep pest populations at tolerable levels and maintain lawns healthy all year-round. Certain pesticides may also be included in the IPM program, but your pest professional will make sure they are chosen and applied responsibly to avoid the impact on other living organisms. Aside from the physical removal of current pest infestations, an IPM program may also include practices concerning soil management, turfgrass selection, exclusion through sanitation and prevention, and appropriate cultural practices.

Growing the perfect, envy-of-the-neighborhood lawn is something we all want, whether we’re creating a natural landscape for play and relaxation or a practical ground cover for the yard. Ask the help of your local pest control company to eliminate pest insects living in your lawn and identify the best solutions for preventing future damage.


About the Author

Daniel Mackie, co-owner of Greenleaf Pest Control, is a Toronto pest control expert well-known as an industry go-to guy, an innovator of safe, effective pest control solutions, and is a regular guest on HGTV. Mackie, along with business partner Sandy Costa, were the first pest control professionals in Canada to use detection dogs and thermal remediation for the successful eradication of bed bugs. In his free time, he is an avid gardener.

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