A beautiful, green lawn instantly enhances the beauty of your home, but keeping it that way is no easy task. A healthy, well-maintained lawn takes year-round effort and commitment that few homeowners have for lawn care. Hiring a professional landscape company to take care of your Northern NJ lawn care and maintenance is your best option for a beautiful lawn.
Professional lawn care and maintenance will keep your lawn green and well-maintained, but it will also keep your lawn healthy. Even the most beautiful lawns are susceptible to harmful insects that can quickly destroy grass and create unhealthy soil conditions. To ensure the best insect control for lawns, your professional services should include proper year-round pest control.
Common Northern New Jersey Insects
Insects and insect-like pests such as earthworms, slugs, grubs and snails are classified into a number of different groups, but there are numerous Northern NJ insects that cause damage to your lawn. Bergen County lawns are home to a variety of turf grass insects. Fortunately, most of them provide benefits for your lawn, but some of them can cause extensive damage. A healthy lawn can tolerate some feeding by harmful insects, but an ill-maintained lawn can be quickly invaded. When the number of harmful insects reach a critical threshold, your grass can be damaged to such an extent that repairs will be unlikely. Harmful insects create open spaces in your lawn that are ugly and vulnerable to weed growth and soil erosion. The insects that are most likely to cause damage in your Northern NJ lawn are:
Grubs are C-shaped worm-like insects that inhabit the soil. They munch on grass roots and contaminate the soil where they live. As grass roots begin to die, you will see loose patches of grass that lift up easily from the soil. Although white grubs often cause extensive lawn damage, Japanese beetle grubs cause millions of dollars in lawn damages each year to American lawns according to the Department of Agriculture. White grubs are the larvae of many different types of beetles, including the Japanese beetle.
Grubs typically invade your lawn in June and July. They are attracted to moist soil, so frequent watering during early summer months creates a perfect home for them. Grubs are not usually visible in the grass and burrow about 3 inches into the soil, then lay eggs. Moist soil provides easier burrowing and creates a fertile environment for eggs. If temperatures reach 90 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, grub eggs will die. Grubs cause brown patches in your lawn, but they may not show up until early fall. The best insect control for lawns with grub infestations should be applied in early summer before grub eggs hatch.
Sod webworms, also called lawn moths, resemble small caterpillars, but they actually fly. At night, sod webworms fly and hover close to the grass, so they can drop their eggs on the turf. The creamy-colored larvae have a distinctive double row of black or brown spots down their backs, located at the base of long hairs. During the day, they live in silky burrows, so you may not notice them at all. At night, they come out to feed, so you’re more likely to notice them after dark. If you notice small, moth-like insects flying close to your lawn at night, you most likely have a sod webworm problem. They typically appear in early summer.
Of the cool-season grasses common in Northern NJ lawns, bent grasses and Bluegrasses suffer the most damage from sod webworms. Tall fescues and perennial ryegrasses, also cool-season grasses, seem to be slightly more resilient to sod webworm infestations. Lawn damage will first appear as skeletonized blades of grass, then progress to larger patches of grass that appear brown or bare. Significant damage can occur quickly on drought-affected or ill-maintained bentgrass and Bluegrass. With more than 100 sod webworms per square yard of turf, the best insect control for lawns should be applied immediately.
Chinch bugs are very common in Northern NJ areas, as well as the midwest and the south, and as far north as Canada. Chinch bugs prefer cooler climates and cool-season grasses like bentgrass, perennial ryegrass and fine and tall fescue. Bluegrass lawns with 50 percent or more ryegrass and/or fine fescue mixtures are the most likely to be attacked. Chinch bugs typically invade your lawn in the summer, between June and September, when the weather is hot and dry. They are attracted to drought-like soil conditions where irrigation is minimal or irregular.
Chinch bug damage is usually first noticed by irregular patches of grass that turn yellow or light brown and resemble straw. Although these straw-like patches of grass may be completely dead, they will continue to get larger and larger, even with proper watering. Once chinch bugs invade your lawn and kill your grass, you need the best insect control for lawns to properly control and eliminate chinch bugs. However, with extensive damage, you may have to replace your entire lawn.
Cutworms, the larvae of night-flying gray or brown moths, typically hide in the soil during the day and feed on grass blades at night. They are usually gray, black or a dull-brown in color and between 1 1/2 inches and 2 inches long. Some varieties are spotted or striped. Cutworms usually invade lawns in the early spring, as soon as temperatures rise above freezing. They feed on grass blades or cut off the grass blades near the soil, creating severe damage to turf roots and new seedlings, especially in bentgrasses and perennial ryegrasses that are common in Bergen County areas.
Cutworms feed on your lawn at night, so you may never see them until you notice lawn damage. They leave small, 1-inch to 2-inch wide patches of brown grass with grass blades eaten off at the soil level. They will invade newly seeded lawns, as well as established, healthy lawns and cause extensive damage. Cutworms don’t seriously damage grass unless there is a severe infestation. If you notice large numbers of birds scratching at or feeding on the patches of brown grass, this may indicate a high population of cutworms underneath. Talk to a lawn care professional about cutworm infestations and the best insect control for lawns.
Bluegrass billbugs are beetles with long, bill-like snouts that allow them to chew their food. Adults are yellow, reddish-brown or black and usually between 1/4-inch and 3/4 inches long, so you are unlikely to notice them in your lawn. They resemble small beetles and are easily distinguished by their bill-like snouts. Bluegrass billbugs burrow in the grass near the surface of the soil, so they can feed on grass blades easier. Young billbugs are larvae that look like C-shaped, wet particles of white rice in the grass. They feed on grass roots rather than leaves, so they can kill your entire lawn. Billbugs cause the most damage when they’re in the larvae stage. They can spread across your lawn and kill large sections of grass without the best insect control for lawns to contain or kill them.
Bluegrass billbugs are one of the hardest Northern NJ insects to control. Their hard, armor-like bodies often repel insecticides, even when they are feeding on treated grass blades. In the larvae stage, they’re hard to control because they bore quickly into grass roots. Common signs of billbug problems are dead spots in your lawn that don’t recover when watered. Dead spots will pull up easily since the larvae have likely killed the grass roots.
What’s the Best Way to Prevent Insect Lawn Damage?
An Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program is the best way to prevent harmful insects in your lawn. An IPM offers insect and pest control with an emphasis on prevention and organic solutions. If you have existing insect problems, a professional lawn care provider can identify them and provide the best insect control for lawns before your lawn problems get out of control. An Integrated Pest Management Program with regular lawn pest control in Bergen County typically includes:
- Scheduled property visits, up to seven times during the year, from an IPM specialist who inspect your lawn for insects.
- An inspection of your lawn, shrubs and trees during each visit with recommended treatments if any problems are found.
- Detailed reports after each inspection that outline any problems found and recommended insect control treatments.
Including an Integrated Pest Management Program in your regular lawn care and maintenance services will help to create a healthier eco-system in your yard. Regular pest management treatments will help to get rid of weeds and debris that attract insects and pests. They will also provide proper irrigation levels to eliminate any pools of standing water that attracts insects.
Specialty treatments will enhance your regular lawn care and maintenance and provide the best insect control for lawns with existing insect and pest problems. Specialty treatments usually include:
- Winter lawn insect and pest control
- Organic lawn root feedings
- Organic controls for mosquitoes, fleas and ticks
- Organic deer repellent
- Additional pest control treatments when needed
Tree Trunk Injections
In addition to organic pest control for your lawn, your trees will also be protected from small insects like caterpillars, spider mites, tree beetles and parasitic wasps that are common in Northern NJ areas. These insects typically invade trees to feed on the leaves, but certain types of borer insects like beetles commonly attack tree trunks and cause extensive damage to the tree’s structure.
If you have fruit trees in your Bergen County yard, they are particularly susceptible to insects, as well as small animals and birds that are attracted to the fruit. You may notice lots of half-eaten fruit on the ground before you notice damage to the tree. An Integrated Pest Management Program is a great solution for organic insect and pest control for your trees and your lawn. Talk to a Bergen County lawn care professional about the best insect control for lawns and the benefits of an Integrated Pest Management Program for your home.
Benefits of an Integrated Pest Management Program
- Safe, Organic Solutions – A professional pest management program focuses on safe, organic pest control solutions without harmful chemical and toxins.
- Healthy Outdoor Environment –Insects and outdoor pests can create potential safety hazards for your family, especially children and pets. Eliminating them will also eliminate potential insect bites and pest-related debris in your yard..
- Less Pest Control Costs – Trying to get rid of insects and outdoor pests yourself can be difficult, if not impossible without the right type of pest control. You can spend excessive time and money trying to find the right treatments. A professional lawn care provider will know the safest and most effective treatments for the best insect control for lawns in Northern NJ areas.