/ TES BR n .
JAMES E. BROGD)ON
S. H. KERR
A. .: ..,i ...:I n'~ Experimzent
.!~ I..`, Ctomoo~loist
Several insects and related pests are common in lawns in
Florida. The chinch bug (Figs. 1 and 2), leaf hoppers and scales
suck plant juices. Some, as mole-crickets and billbugs, live in
the? soil and damage the plant roots. Others, including sod web-
worms (Figs. 7 and 8) and armyworms, eat the grass leaves.
To these groups can be added other insects and related pests,
such as fleas, earwigs, millipedes, chiggers and snails, that do
not damage the lawn but may become nuisances because of their
biting people or crawling into houses, garages, swimming pools,
Fig.. 1.--Chinch bugs (much enlarged). Note long-wing~ed adults (right),
sh~ort-wing~ed adults (top), and wingless nymphs (left).
H[OMIE G~ARD)ENER'S LAWN INSECT
LOOK FOR INSECTS
To prevent extensive damage by insect pests, homeowners
should make frequent thorough inspections of their lawns, espe-
cially during spring and summer, so that insect infestations can
be found early and treatments applied promptly.
Insects are only one of many causes of yellowish or brownish
areas in grass. Diseases, nematodes, dry weather and nutri-
tional disorders are frequently responsible for such injury.
It is important that homeowners be sure of the cause so the
proper treatment can be used promptly to correct the trouble
without the needless waste of pesticides and without further
damage to the grass.
Fig. 2.--Chinch bugs, adults and ny~mphs. Note adults are not as long as
the blade of grass is wide.
The chinch bug is the most important pest of lawns in Florida.
It is seriously damaging only to St. Augustinegrass. This in-
sect sucks the plant juices through its needle-like beak and also
apparently causes other internal injury in the grass, resulting
in yellowish to brownish patches in lawns. These injured areas
frequently are first noticed along edges of lawns.
Usually when chinch bugs are present in sufficient numbers
to cause yellow or brown areas in lawns, they can be found by
pushing aside the grass runners in the yellowed areas and look-
ing down at the soil surface. The small black or red bugs with
white markings on their backs will be seen scurrying along on
and in the loose duff on the soil surface. In extremely heavy
infestations some of the chinch bugs can be seen crawling over
grass blades, sidewalks and outside walls of houses.
Fig. 3.-M1Letal can for finding chinch bugs. Both endls have been removed.
If no chinch bugs are seen by this method, their presence
or absence can be confirmed by using a metal can such as a
3-pound shortening can, a large coffee can or a gallon can with
both ends cut out (Fig. 3). Place one end of the can on the
grass in an area where the grass is yellowed and declining. Cut
the grass runners around the bottom edge of the can with a
knife. Twist and push the bottom end of the can an inch or
two into the soil (Fig. 4). Fill the can with water (Fig. 5)
and if chinch bugs are present, they will float to the surface
within 5 minutes (Fig. 6). It m~ay be necessary to add more
water to keep the water level above the grass during this 5-
minute period. If no chinch bugs are found in the first area
checked, examine at least 3 or 4 places in the suspected areas.
When it is definitely established that chinch bugs are the
problem, start control measures immediately.
1. Have the turf moist at the time it is sprayed. If it has
become dry, irrigate the lawn by running the sprinklers about
an hour. This aids in the spread and penetration of the spray
into thick tuirf mats. (It is not necessary to have the turf moist
before granular insecticides are applied.)
2. Treat the entire law-n thoroughly, giving particular at-
tention to areas obviously heavily infested. Make spot treat-
ments only if you can watch the lawn from day to day.
Fig. 4.--Push can into yellowedi grass.
3. Use effective insecticides. Recommended materials include
V-C 13, ethion, Trithion, diazinon, Aspon, Zytron, and Baygon.
4. Apply the insecticide properly When using sprays it
is important to apply the insecticide in a large amount of water
in order to soak the thick mats of St. Augustinegrass.
Jar attachments to garden hoses are excellent tools for
home gardeners to use to apply sprays. Use the type which
requires 15 to 20 gallons of water passing through the hose
to empty the quart size jar. Put the amount of insecticide in
Fig~. 5.--Fill can with water to float chinch bugis.
Fig. 6.--Watch for chinch bugs to float to the surface of the water.
FLORIDA LAWN PEST CONTROL CHART
CONTROL (see texut for important points on applying insecticide)
Sometimes adults hibernate in
winter in Northern Florida,
but all stages present year
around in most of the state.
Eggs laid in leaf sheaths or
pushed into soft soil and other
protected places. In summer
hatch 1-1%/ weeks; young de-
velop to adults in 4-5 weeks,
adults may live many weeks.
Of the lawn grasses, only St-
Augustinegrass is seriously
injred. Bugfs insert a slen-
der,1 piercing beak into grass
and sack1 plant juices. Typ-
ical i an shows as a patch
wit~h rown, dead center and
yello ish margin.
Granulated forms of above insecticides: apply with a fertilizer
spreader as directed on the label.
DUSTS: Apply 10%~ toxaphene dust to the grass at the! rate of
1 lb. per 1,000 square feet, or apply 5% DDT dust or 5%/ Sevin
dust at the rate of 2-2%/ lbs. per 1,000 square feet.
cups = 1 pint 2 pints = 1 quart 4 quarts = 1 gallon.
ones found in
are the south-
acletus R. & H.,
and the Puerto
the May or June
nitida (L) ; and
The chinch bug
common in Flor-
ida lawns is
Adults about % inch long, black
with white patches on wings
which are folded over back.
Young (nymphs) range from
1/20 inch long to nearly adult
size. The smallest chinch bugs
are reddish with a white band
across the back, but become
black in color as they near adult
32-64 fluid oz.
32-64 fluid oz.
54-74 fluid oz.
54-74 fluid oz.
18-24 fluid oz.
48 fluid oz.
35 fluid oz.
80 fluid oz.
Per 500 Sq. Ft'
( or qt. size
3-6 fluid oz.
3-6 fluid oz.
5%/-8 fluid oz.
5%/-8 fluid oz.
2-2%/ fluid oz.
5 fluid oz.
3%/ fluid oz.
V-C 13 (8E) (8 1bs. per gallon EC*)
Diazinon 2E: (2 1bs per gallon EC)
Trithion 2E (2 lbs. per gallon EC)
Ethion 2E (2 1bs. per gallon EC)
Aspon 6E (6 1bs. per gallon EC)
Zytron 3E (3 lbs. per gallon EC)
(Zytron--as Preventive Treatment)
Baygon 1.5E (1.5 lbs. per gallon EC) 8 fluid oz.
Caterpillar grows to %/ inch in
length; greenish. Adults are
dingy brown moths with wing-
spread about %/ inch.
Adults lay eggs among grass.
Eggs hatch in about 1 week.
Larvae feed on grass blades
and grow large enough to
cause noticeable injury within
2 weeks. Much damage next
1-1%/ wee ks till pupation.
Adult apTpears about 1 week
later. Thycomplete their
life cycle in 5-6 weeks and
have several generations a
The caterpillars are the only
damaging stage. They de-
your the foliage, feeding only
at night. Damage usually
seen in patches. Grass blades
notched on sides and chewed
back raggedly. Grass may
die if foliage stripped off in
hot, dry weather.
Per 1,000 Sq. Ft. Per 10,000
(for qt. size hose Sq. Ft.
Toxaphene emulsifiable con- Gallons)
centrate (6 lbs. per gal.).... % cup 1%z pints
40% Toxaphene wettable
powder .................................. 1%/ cups 3 pounds
50%0 Sevin wettable powder .... 1%z cups 2%/ pounds
25%5 DDT emulsifiable
concentrate ............................ 1 cup 2% quarts
50%/ DDT wettable powder ...... 1%a cups 2%/ pounds
Caterpillar grows to 1%z inches Moth lays eggs on grass and Caterpillars chew the grass
long. Greenish when small; on almost any object near blades. Turf appears rag-
dark brown when full grown. lawns. Development is much ged, and foliage may be
Has a light mid-stripe along like sod webworm. Army- stripped off. Feed during
back; darker bands on each side worms pupate in the soil, how- the day and damage often
of mid-stripe. Midstripe ends in over, not in as definite patches as
inverted V on head. that of sod webworms.
The one found
the fall army-
(J. E. Smith)
Control is the same as for sod webworms.
Make burrows in soil, loosen
soil, disturb and cut off roots.
Found more commonly in
soft, newly planted areas,
but can be serious in estab-
lished turf as well.
Odd-looking crickets growing to
1%z inches long. Have velvety
appearance from covering of
fine, brown hairs. Front legs
flattened and adapted for bur-
In spring, adult places eggs
in underground cells. Eggs
hatch in 1%-2 weeks in warm
weather. Become adults by
1.5-2%~ chlordane bait ............... 1-2 pounds 10-20 pound
23% aldrin or heptachlor
emulsifiable concentrate .... 6 tablespoons 1 quart
25%i heptachlor or aldrin
wettable powder .................. 1 cup (%/ pound) 2 pounds
Chlordane emulsifiable con-
centrate (8 lbs. per gal.).... %/ cup 1%/ pints
wettable powder .. ........ 1 cup (%/ pound) 2%/ pounds
50'/ Kepone wettable powder.... %/ cup 1%i pounds
Chlordane, aldrin or heptachlor sprays as for mole-crickets
Larvae are fat grubs which lie Adults lay eggs in the soil. Grubs~damage grass by de-
in C-shaped position. Whitish Grubs which hatch out live in touring root s. Yellowish
in color with dark areas at rear, the soil and feed on roots. /areas develop in turf, and
Brownish head. Adults are Different species take varying grass can be killed. In se-
beetles. times to go through life cycle Ivere cases, roots pruned off
--1 to 4 years. Adults do not to extent that the turf mat
feed on grass. can be rolled back like a car-
* EC is abbreviation for emulsifiable concentrate.
Liquid Measures: 3 teaspoons 1 tablespoon 2 tablespoons = 1 fluid ounce 8 fluid ounces = 1 cup 2
the jar for 500 square feet (see chart). Fill the jar the rest of
the way with water. Spray out the contents over 500 square
feet of lawn (10 by 50 feet or 20 by 25 feet). To insure even
coverage, spray back and forth across the measured area; then
turn at right angles and spray back and forth across the same
A sprinkling can is satisfactory for use on small areas. In
a 2-gallon sprinkling can put 2 to 4 teaspoons of 25C% diazinon
or 75%0 V-C 13, or 4 teaspoons of Trithion 2E or ethion 2E,
or 1/2 tablespoon of Aspon 6E, or 1 tablespoon of Z;ytron 3E, or
2 tablespoons of Baygon 1..5E. Stir well and apply the 2 gallons
carefully over 50 square! feet of lawn.
Some of these materials are on the market in dry, granu-
lated form for direct application with fertilizer-sprender ma-
chines. These formulations are just as effective as sprays when
applied as directed. Follow the directions on the label. It is
not necessary to have the turf moist at time of spreading the
granulated insecticides. They should be washed down into the
turf mat after application.
The lower dosages of insecticides given in the control chart
have performed well in Expetriment Station tests. Since most
home gardeners do not apply insecticides as carefully as in
experimental work, and since the chinch bug problem is es-
pecially severe in some of the more southern parts of Florida,
the higher dosages may be needed. The amount of insecticide
per unit area is given in the control chart.
Several lawn spray mixtures combining more than one pest-
icide effective against chinch bugs and other common lawin
pests are on the market. When using these, follow directions
on the labels.
5. Continue to watch for chinch bugs, since one insecti-
cidal treatment rarely prevents damage for a whole season.
Two or 3 applications per year are needed in most of Florida,
and even more may be required under extreme conditions, par-
ticularly in South Florida.
While a common approach to chinch bug control is to be
vigilant in watching~ for their appearance aznd to threat promptly
when they do appear, some people prefer to use a preventive
peerm.Such a program. would call for the Th-~t treatment
to be applied in March in southern Floridla andi for subsequent
treatments at about 6j-week intervals. In average years, the
initial treatment can be made later as one moves farther north-
ward, so that in the northern third of the state late Many usually
would be soon enough to begin.
SOD WEBWORM~S AND AlRMIYWORMIS
Several kinds of caterpillars, which are the immature or
larval stage of moths, may cause damage to various lawn grasses.
The principal ones are thet tropical sod webworm (Figs. 7 and
8) and the fall armyworm.
Sod webworms differ from armyw~orms in size and feeding
habits. The webwor~ms feed primarily ait night and remain in
a curled position on or near the soil surface during the day
(Fig. 7). This habit makes them difficult to find. The newly
hatched caterpillars cause very little visible dl,anute:~. to grass.
It is not until they are almost full grown --..an--"l) nearly :!i
inch long that their feeding becomes ver~y noticeable, and then
it appears to show up almost overnight. This, along with their
night feeding habit, explains howt extensive damage may occur
before it is noticed.
Injured grass has notches chew-ed into the sides of the blades
Fig. 7.--Grass partedl to show sod webworm in its daytime restings position.
and the blades are eaten back unevenly. The foliage may be
almost completely stripped off in patches, and these close-cropped
areas have a yellowrish to brownish appearance.
Fig. ~~' 8.Toiclsd ewr. dl mtletcner ewomet
erillr rih etr ua rrsigsae pe etr oecee
grassand elles ofexcrment
A odwyt sac o o wbom st pr h rs
and lokfrtesalgen"om uldu ertesi
(Fi. an fo smll ree pelet offras r excremn Fg
8).A lasliht se a nihtwil rvea te atepilar wrk
ingin hegras olige
Armyworms grwtoaot inhsinlngh r bu
twic th lenth f te ful gown od ebwrm. heyfee
duing* th a n ontrsnacre oiin
sprays c.Tommonly sold wbyom ardesuply sotor est usuallyebo cntai
eplar mixtur ene o r; more in rseticides frthe upurposner Nof control
ing these hewingh s a ih i rvl caterpillars s wel scic usadcrk-
tarin other pets Ds and gontras nue can bred uosed ffetiv
Fig. 9.-The most widespread and destructive mole-crickets. Left,
Puerto Rican (Scapteriscuts 2'icinu1s Scuddl.); right, Southern (S. acletus
R. & H.). (From Agricultural Experiment Station Circular S-15.)
MOLIE-CRICKETS, BILLBUGS, WHITE GRUBS
The damaging stages of this group of insects are soil dwell-
ers that feed on roots. Mole-crickets (Fig. 9) make burrows
like tiny mole tunnels (Fig. 10). They are most destructive in
newly seeded or sprigged lawns where they cut off the grass
roots and loosen the soil so that excessive drying occurs.
The hunting billbug sometimes causes severe injury to grass
in Florida, especially to Zoyrsiagrass. As the name suggests,
the adult beetle has a bill or snout. The larva or grub, which
is legless and grows to about 3/8 inch in length, is white in
color, with a yellowish brown head. This stage causes most
of the damage to grass by feeding on the roots and causing dead
areas in lawns and other turf.
In recent tests Baygon, at the amounts recommended for
chinch bugs, has been one of the better materials.
Several species of white grubs damage grass. These pests
are the larval stage of "beetles such as May or June beetles.
Unlike billbug larvae, white grubs have 3 pairs of small legs
near the head end. ?They are generally distributed in Florida,
but are not considered to be major pests of lawns.
~Dr ~ ;;i ;j:4U
~;V -Y4 ~~Y
Earwigs are brownish insects which grow to
about an inch in length and have forceps-like
appendages at the rear (Fig. 11). Although they
breed in lawns, they are not harmful to the grass.
They may become nuisances by crawling into
rro c~rclar These insects are difficult to control and re-
peat applications at 2-week intervals may be
needed. BHC and lindane are suggested insecticides to use.
The amount for 1,000 square feet of lawn is 1/> pound (1 cup)
Figf. 10.-MRole-cricket "runs" on newly graded yard. (From Circular S-42.)
The method of control is similar for all of these soil dwell-
ing pests. Again, the hose attachment sprayer discussed under
chinch bugs can be employed effectively, using the amounts
of insecticides given in the control chart. It is important to
use large amounts of water to get the insecticide down to where
the insects are feeding. If large amounts of water cannot be
applied with the sprays, irrigate after spraying. The baits
given in the chart are effective in control of mole-crickets.
Fig. 11. _
ural si ze).
of 12 percent gamma isomer BHC wettable powder, or 5 table-
spoonfuls of lindane emulsion concentrate which has 1 to 1.6
pounds of lindane per gallon. Apply this amount of insecti-
cide in 10 to 15 gallons of water when using a power sprayer.
With a hose attachment sprayer or other smaller equip-
ment, apply 2 tablespoonfuls of the wettable powder or 11A tea-
spoonfuls of the emulsion concentrate per 100 square feet of
lawn. Sevin at the rate for sod webworm and diazinon or Bay-
gon at the rates for chinch bugs (See Chart) are also reported
to be effective. Application of one of the above insecticides as a
dust in a band 2 or 3 feet wide around a house should be helpful.
Repeat as needed.
Millipedes (Fig. 12) or "thousand-
legged worms" are not a threat to grass.
They feed primarily on decaying vege-
tation, but may feed on the tender
parts of plants. They annoy by crawl-
ing into houses, swimming pools, etc.
Control of millipedes is very diffi-
cult. Repeated applications of pesti-
cides at 2-week intervals is usually
needed to substantially reduce the pop-
ulation. Diazinon or Baygon (as for
chinch bugs), Sevin (as for sod web-
worms) or BHC or lindane (as for
earwigs) are suggested. Give special
emphasis to spraying the foundations
of buildings, porches, patios, etc. A
dust barrier (as for earwigs) around
the house should be helpful.
Fig. 12. -- Millipedes
(from Circular S-96).
Insecticides are poisons and should be handled as such.
Read completely the manufacturer's label on the container be-
fore opening and observe all precautions. Wear rubber gloves
when handling and applying insecticides. Do not breathe mists
or fumes or spill sprays on the skin. Wash exposed parts of the
body after using insecticides.
The use of trade names in this publication is solely for the purpose of
providing specific information. It is not a guarantee or warranty of the
products named and does not signify that they are approved to the exclu-
sion of others of suitable composition.
A Revision of Circular 181
Second R~evision MIarch 1961i
Third Rievision Aprl 1964,
Fourth Revision June 1965
COOPERATIVE EXTENSION WOR(K IN AGRICULTURE AND HOME ECONOMICS
(Acts of Mlay 8 and June 30, 1914)
Agricultural Extension Service, University of Florida,
Fl]orida State University and United States Department of Agriculture, Cooperating
Mi. O. Watkins, Director