Surface feeding insects exist at or above the soil line, where they feed on grass plants by chewing or sucking. Like all insects, surface feeders increase in population and activity as temperatures grow warmer.
Billbugs, chinch bugs, greenbug aphids, cutworms and webworms are all surface feeding insects that may be feasting on your lawn at this very moment.
- Billbugs: Brownish-black in color, billbugs like to feed on grass stems.
- Chinch Bugs: These bugs feed by sucking juices from the leaves and stems of grass plants. They also inject grass plants with a toxin that blocks food- and water-conducting vessels.
- Cut Worms: Dark in color and 1″ to 2″ in length, cutworms prefer to feed on grass leaves and crowns.
- Webworms: These surface feeders are the larval state of lawn moths. They chew grass blades off and pull them into tunnels they’ve made in the thatch.
If areas of your turf have been torn up, this could be a sign that animals have been digging through your lawn at night as they look for surface feeding insects to eat. Yellowing, orange-brown and brown patches in your lawn are also possible signs of damage from surface feeding insects.
While proper mowing, watering and fertilizing will strengthen your lawn and cut down on damage from surface feeders, regular inspections of your grass are the best defense. Most surface feeders are very small and hard to see with the naked eye, but the damage they do is usually obvious. If you notice areas of browning or thinning turf in your yard, contact The Turf Doctor right away. We’ll be happy to provide a prompt inspection and recommend the proper treatment.