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Pest ID

Compiled with permission from the University of Florida IFAS Extension and

There is nothing more irritating than pests on the turf and plants you are hired to maintain. While it may seem like you are fighting a losing campaign, being able to identify some of the more common bugs at least gives you some ammunition for the fight. So, with that in mind LCN is taking a closer look at four of the U.S.Os most invasive turf pests, what they look like, and where they are most commonly found.

Bermudagrass Mite


Common Name(s): Bermudagrass mite
Scientific Name(s): Eriophyes cynodoniensis
Where to find them: Coarse varieties of Bermudagrass such as common, ormond, and St. Lucie
Identification: These mites are yellowish-white, somewhat worm-like in shape, have two pairs of legs and are extremely small. Unable to be seen with the naked eye, they are active primarily during late spring and summer, but may be active most of the year in southern areas of the country.
Affected Areas: Bermudagrass in the southern U.S.

Fire Ants


Common Name(s): Fire ants
Scientific Name(s): Solenopsis richteri Forel, and Solenopsis invicta Buren
Where to find them: Sandy soil, rotting logs, around trees and stumps, under pavement and buildings.
Identification: Aggressive, reddish brown to black ants that are 1/8 to 1/4 in long. They construct nests which are often visible as dome-shaped mounds of soil, sometimes as large as 3 feet across and 1 1/2 feet in height. In sandy soils, mounds are flatter and less visible. Fire ants usually build mounds in sunny, open areas such as lawns, pastures, cultivated fields, and meadows, but they are not restricted to these areas. Mounds or nests may be located in rotting logs, around trees and stumps, under pavement and buildings, and occasionally indoors. When their nests are disturbed, numerous fire ants will quickly run out of the mound and attack any intruder. These ants are notorious for their painful, burning sting that results in a pustule and intense itching, which may persist for 10 days.
Affected Areas: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Arizona and Virginia.

Japanese Beetle


Common Name(s): Japanese beetle, Popillia japonica Newman
Scientific Name(s): Insecta: Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae
Where to find them: More than 300 plant species including turf and ornamental plants.
Identification: One of the most widespread and destructive pests in many parts of the US. Adults feed on foliage and flowers, and leaves are typically heavily damaged, with only tough network of veins. The larvae, commonly known as white grubs, primarily feed on roots of grasses often destroying turf in lawns, parks and golf courses.
Affected Areas: Many states east of the Mississippi River such as New Jersey, Ohio, Michigan, as well as parts of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas, Arkansas and Oklahoma.

Shortwinged Mole cricket


Common Name(s): Shortwinged mole cricket, Southern mole cricket, tawny mole cricket
Scientific Name(s): Scapteriscus abbreviatus Scudder, Scapteriscus borellii Giglio-Tos, Scapteriscus vicinus Scudder, Insecta: Orthoptera: Gryllotalpidae.
Where to find them: Turfgrass, as well as animal and plant material.
Identification: The shortwinged mole cricket has no calling song and the short wings render it incapable of flight.
Affected Areas: Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana, Texas and Arizona.

Maintenance Details

8 million: Dollars, the estimated annual growth loss and mortality to South Carolina forests as a result of forest insects and disease pests.

26 to 54 : Days, the life cycle of the southern pine beetle, depending on the season. Development slows considerably in the winter and accelerating in the spring and summer. Source: Clemson University Extension Service

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June 18, 2019, 6:44 pm PDT

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