Which Pest Species In Louisiana Inflict Damage To Residential Lawns, And How Can They Be Eradicated From Properties?

Due to the wet, warm and humid environmental conditions in Louisiana, the state is home to a relatively large number of arthropod pest species. Louisiana’s subtropical location means that the state is a common nesting ground for a variety of non-native arthropods that originate from the Carribean, Mexico, Central America and South America. For example, the notorious red-imported fire ant species is native to South America, but the ants were accidentally introduced into the Gulf Coast region several decades ago. Since then, red-imported fire ants have established a thriving invasive habitat in Louisiana and other southeastern states.

Red-imported fire ants do not often enter homes, as they prefer to establish colonies in the soil beneath the ground surface, but they can become problematic when they invade and colonize residential yards. These invasive ants often infest yards where they excavate soil in order to establish nesting sites and intricate tunnel networks below the ground. As a result of this nesting activity, lawn grass becomes significantly damaged, and covered in several unsightly dirt mounds. Several other arthropod pest species in Louisiana establish infestations in yards where they feed on, and ultimately kill a variety of ornamental and flowering plants, foliage, shrubs and lawn grass. Some of these arthropod pests include chinch bugs, mole crickets and white grubs.

White grubs are the larvae of beetles from the Scarabaeidae family, and these pests feed on the roots of grass and some common garden plant species. White grubs are very small and not easily seen, but infestations become apparent once patches of yellowing grass appear in yards. Three mole cricket species in Louisiana also commonly feed on the roots of lawn grass, and these pests overwinter in soil during their nymphal stage. The three mole cricket pest species in Louisiana include the northern, the southern and the most damaging of all, the invasive Tawny mole cricket. Chinch bugs may be the most common and destructive of all yard pests in Louisiana, as these pests often inflict heavy damage to St. Augastinegrass. Much like the above two species, chinch bug damage presents as yellowing patches of grass, and these pests tend to be most active on the hottest summer days. Adult and nymphal chinch bugs feed on sap at the base of grass plants, while the worm-like larvae damage grass roots with their nesting and feeding behaviors. Both white grubs and chinch bug larvae can be seen by peeling back patches of infested grass. Eradicating the above three insect pests from yards usually requires a professional intervention.

Have you ever spotted yellowing patches of grass in your yard?


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