Lawn Pests
Lawn damage caused by pests

Lawn Pests

There are two specific pests that cause large issues on lawns in the UK, Leatherjackets and Chafer Grubs; some pests can cause minor issues such as worms and ants. The treatment we use for controlling Leatherjackets and Chafer Grubs is the biological control - Nematodes. The treatment we use for worms is an irritant that reduces the surface activity and this lessens the amount of casts produced. At the time of writing we have no specific control for ants however, we would advise using a spade, slicing into the lawn where the activity is and applying ant powder into the nest, pull out the spade and restore the crevice.

Worms are generally good for the lawn; there are 25 species however, there are only 3 that cause casts in the lawn. The process worms have by moving through the soil is good for microbial activity and aeration. The cast that they return to the surface can look ugly and be a good seed bed for weeds.

The liquid spray we apply acts like sand, which irritates the worms and by removing them from the surface; generally it does not kill them. This spray will need to be applied twice per year, once in the autumn and again in the spring when activity is at its height.


Leatherjackets

Leatherjackets are the larval stage of what is commonly known as Daddy Longlegs (Crane fly).

Their one-year life cycle begins when the female lays her eggs in the lawn, around September time; they then hatch 2-3 weeks later.

Over the winter period, when the weather is still wet and warm enough, the larvae starts to feed on the top part of the grass plant’s root system.

At this time, the damage is not normally seen as the Leatherjackets are still quite small. It is important to note that secondary damage to the lawn can also be caused by birds and animals rooting for the grubs.

By February and March, the grubs will have grown in size and the damage will be much more extensive.

Chafer Grub

Chafer grubs are the larvae of the Chafer beetle (May bug) and have a life cycle of 1-3 years, dependent on the species.

The females lay their eggs in the lawn. When first hatched, the grub is very small and at its most vulnerable. They are curved like the letter C, with white fleshy bodies, light brown heads, 3 pairs of legs and will grow to 10-15mm in size.

The grubs feed on the roots of the grass plant resulting in the turf becoming detached from its soil moorings, allowing the lawn to be pulled back, like lifting a carpet. Birds, badgers and a number of other animals enjoy eating these grubs so damage to the lawn can be extensive.

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