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Lawn & Garden

Beetle Larvae "Grub"
LAWN & GARDEN PESTS - General Information

Lawn and garden pests around the home can cause severe damage or total loss of plants that we depend on for food or for beautifying our property.  Beetle grubs, chinch bugs, spittlebugs, and mole crickets are pests of lawns and recreational turf areas such as athletic fields and golf courses.  Insects such as Japanese and potato beetles, and tomato hornworms attack our crops, damaging them so they cannot be used as food.  Aphids, mealybugs, scale insects and Oleander caterpillars attack our ornamental plants making them less pleasing to the eye.  These pests can do a great deal of damage in a very short period of time.

Chinch Bug Nymphs and Adults

Chinch Bug - Blissus insularis.  The southern chinch bug is an important pest of lawns consisting of Saint Augustine grass.  Some varieties of this grass are somewhat resistant to attack and damage from chinch bugs.  They are small, one-fifth to one-sixth of an inch long as adults.  Adults have white colored wings that are marked with two black triangles.  Immature chinch bugs are reddish colored with a white band across the back and running from side to side.


Boxelder Bug - Boisea trivittatus.  This insect is primarily a nuisance pest at certain times of the year when they enter or rest on structures in very large numbers.  The adults are about one-half inch long, black with red or orange markings along the edges on the wings.  They have three colored stripes on the back and on the area just behind the head.  They may enter homes looking for suitable places to hide from cold weather in the winter where they remain until it begins to warm up outside in the spring.


Aphids – Also known as “plant lice”, aphids are very important pests of cultivated plants such as fruit trees, flowers, ornamental shrubs and even some crops.  They suck out the juices of the plant causing the plant to look wilted and even spreading some plant diseases through their feeding habits.  Some species of aphids do not have a male gender, although the females have the ability to reproduce live young.  Where they occur in large numbers on the same plant, they can cause the plant to die.  Ladybugs are an important predator against aphids.


Mole Cricket - Family Gryllotalpidae.  The mole cricket can be a pest of lawns and turf grass growing operations because of their digging tunnels through and under the grass.  They may feed on the roots, stems and new shoots of plants that may make the plant die or do poorly.  They have very stout looking bodies, with enlarged front feet equipped for digging in the soil.

Scale Insect

Scale Insects – Scale insects are the most important pests on many ornamental plants.  They are divided into three groups; 1. Armored scales, 2. Soft scales and 3. Mealybugs.  Scale insects produce honeydew which is an important food source of some ants.  The honeydew will also produce sooty mold on plants which interferes with normal plant growth.