Pests That Damage Your Lawn

Insects love your lawn, but if you aren’t careful they can cause a lot of damage that can be expensive to repair. Lawns can become vulnerable to pests and diseases for many reasons, and here at Ames part of Safeguard we would encourage you that prevention is always better than cure. We hope this article will help you learn how to detect and treat these destructive pests.


Armyworms are most common in cool, moist weather conditions and they love spending their time on a well-cared for lawn. Armyworms and cutworms are both moth larvae. They are light green to greenish brown caterpillars that often look greasy. These pests feed on grass leaves and, when increased in number, they can move en masse across your lawn leaving no greenery untouched. In fact, the name Armyworm comes from their behaviour of marching across a lawn, like soldiers, leaving a trail of devastation behind them. Armyworms can be particularly frustrating for farmers who find the pests damaging their grass and reducing the amount good pasture available for their animals to graze on.

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Ridding your garden of armyworms can be a time-consuming task; however, your garden will thank you for it. We recommend you look for larvae and signs of damage beginning in early spring. Caterpillars will often be found feeding on the undersides of leaves on new growth. Handpick the worms you discover and drop them into a bucket of soapy water. Another effective method is to spray all infected plants and areas of your lawn with a soapy water solution to deter the armyworms from causing any further damage.


Aphids are a big problem all over the world but particularly in the United Kingdom. Visual examination is the best way to confirm their presence. Typically, you can find aphids feeding on new, tender plant growth. You can tell if your garden is infested by these unwanted garden visitors if you notice any distorted new growth on your plants, such as curled or hardened leaves. Aphids also secrete honeydew which causes leaves to become sticky and the result is a black mould that eventually engulfs entire plants.

But, fear not, aphid infestations do not have to take over your garden. In fact, the truth is that aphids are one of the simplest pests to control. What’s more, once you treat the aphid problem, the unsightly black mould will go away completely.


There are many insects in nature that help rid your garden of these pests, such as wasps, lacewing larva and ladybirds. However, a quick-fix solution is insecticidal soap which can be found in most well-stocked garden centres.

White Grubs

White grubs are the larvae of scarab or chafer beetles. These pests feed on grass roots, causing the lawn to turn brown and patchy. If dead sections of the grass can be pulled up like a piece of carpet, you probably have grubs. Most species of grubs have a one-year life cycle and lay their eggs during the summer months. When temperatures begin to fall, the grubs go underground to keep warm. Once the weather starts warming again, the grubs return to feed upon the grass roots once again. White grubs cause problems for plants by severing their root systems, making it impossible for the plants to draw enough water from the soil.


There are a variety of pest control products available that will help you treat the problem. However, give us a call to determine the best product for your area, lawn variety and specific pest problem so that we can advise you on the best approach.


Birds can be wonderful guests to our homes and gardens. A variety of birds visiting your garden daily is a great sign you have done something right. However, while birds foraging on your lawns is natural, they can become a pest when they begin digging and making a mess.

Flocks of birds visiting your lawn regularly can be a telling sign that you have a pest problem. Birds tend to flock to lawns in large numbers if there is a huge number of bugs to feed on. They can be helpful in removing pests, but their behaviour can become destructive when pests are in abundance.


Dealing with your bug problem quickly will ease the amount of bird damage and get your lawn back to the calm and collected ecosystem it was before.


Moles are notorious for digging up your lawn and tunnelling their way underground in search for worms and grubs. Unfortunately, all of this tunnelling leads to the creation of mole hills where the soil is deposited on the surface of the lawn. Mole hills can cause your lawn to be unsightly, making it difficult to mow and creating bare soil for weeds to germinate in. Moles in your lawn are probably the most destructive pest your lawn could ever have. The good news is, moles only visit lawns that are health. So, you can take heart in the knowledge you have been doing a good job of caring for your soil.


The difficulty with moles is they are notoriously tough to discourage. If you catch one, another will move in to replace it. If you have a mole infestation in your garden, give us a call to have the problem dealt with effectively. The sooner we are called out to deal with the issue, the less damage they are likely to do.


Leatherjackets are named because of the colour and texture of their skin. This pest is an eating machine! A singular leatherjacket is no threat to a lawn but in large numbers, they can do untold damage. Leatherjackets are the larvae of the Crane Fly and are definitely not a friend of your lawn. Fully-grown, these pests can typically reach 4 cm in length. They live in the soil just beneath the grass and merrily eat away at the grass roots and stems.


As Leatherjackets live in the soil for one year, they are easily controlled with an approved Insecticide application. It is common for the larvae to work their way up to the surface of the lawn after insecticide application. Once they are on the surface they can simply be swept up.


Your lawn can successfully support a variety of insects and wildlife without any damage. However, there comes a point where pests can override the health of your lawn, causing obvious damage and this is when you need to take action. We hope you have found the above list helpful. As with anything, preventative measures can be taken. However, if you already have a pest problem that is painfully apparent and you don’t know what to do, please give us a call. Our professional team here at Safeguard would be more than happy to help you rid your home and garden of pests.

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