Fall Lawn Pests?

Many homeowners look forward to putting down their rakes, hoes, and storing the lawnmower in the shed thinking that their work is done until the next spring.  Lawn and garden pests do tend to dwindle away with the onset of the freezing weather.  For the most part this is true but there are still some lawn and garden pests that thrive in cooler temperatures that could still pose a problem. The good news is that while these fall pests may stick around to delight in the shrubs, bushes, bulbs and remaining plant life they tend to do less damage than they would in the spring and summer.   Let’s look at three of the fall pests that could be an issue in your yard.


  • Fall Armyworms – These fall pests tend to  prey on fall foliage during the nighttime hours making it hard to detect until the mornings.  These pests are a large tan to dark brown colored worm with a large stripe either brown or red in color on each side. Armyworms tend to do the most damage in cornfields and surrounding areas.  Pest treatments should be completed by late summer and early fall to combat this pest.
  • Sod Webworms – Sod webworms or “lawn moths” commonly infest home lawns. Sod webworm larvae can cause major damage to residential turfgrass, especially during periods of drought. Penn State Agricultural Sciences describes the damage as “brown patches up to the size of a baseball in the lawn. In some instances, the brown patches are punctured with pencil-sized holes a result of birds searching for the webworm burrows.” While there are chemical and cultural controls for sod webworms it is best to confirm the identity of the pest through a professional pest control company.
  • Grub Worms – Grub worms, also called lawn grubs, are white worm-like pests that live in the soil. They are the larval form of the adult Japanese beetle, sometimes called the June beetle. Each larva is about ½ inch long with a small brown head. Grub worms will usually survive over the winter and turn into adult beetles, repeating the entire life cycle in the spring, and this is why grub worms can be such a problem for all seasons. Gardeners may notice patches of dead grass or grass that can be easily peeled up.  Grub worm control should be applied in mid to late summer to stop these pests from eating the roots and causing damage even into the fall.

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