Insect Control – Lawn Talk Podcast

Lawn Talk with Harold Enger – Podcast Transcription

Episode: Insect Control

Tim Kauffold: Welcome to Lawn Talk, I’m your host Tim Kauffold. Lawn Talk is a series of conversations with Spring-Green lawn care professionals. Joining me is Harold Enger. Harold has worked in the Green Industry for nearly 30 years and is a Certified Turfgrass and Ornamental Landscape professional. On this episode of Lawn Talk, the topic is insect control. I guess, first and foremost, how do I even know if my lawn has insects?

Harold Enger: Usually, with insects, there are some pretty telltale signs. There is generally an area that is beginning to thin out. For example, with grubs if you go out to an area that is beginning to turn brown or lighter in color, you will be able to lift up the turf just like a rug. It pulls up because the grubs feed on the root system, and grubs are the larva of adult beetles, they’re like little, mini-side cutters, and they feed on whatever is in front of them. They eat the soil. They eat the roots, the turf becomes very loose, and you can just pull it up.

Another indication for grub activity  is animal activity.  Skunks, raccoons, even deer, will go and eat grubs, when there is activity. They can hear them, they go in there and eat, it’s just like a delicacy. Whenever we have grub season, there is always some etymologist that finds his way onto television news, frying up a plate of grubs, because they are very nutritious. That’s one easy insect to identify.

Some of them are more difficult. If you see a lot of birds feeding in an area of your lawn, you  go out in that area, and it looks like it’s thinning a bit, this could be an indication of an insect known as sod webworm. You may see little piles of soil in an area, or grass beginning to thin out,  that could be an indication also.

The best thing to do in all these situations is to have your Spring Green professional come out and take a look. Again, it’s a partnership between you and Spring Green. You’re going to be there every day, and you’re going to notice these problems. Since we may not be out there for four to six weeks, we are not going to notice those changes as quickly. Just give us a call and we’ll come out and take a look.

Tim: And when you talk about the animals coming in to feed on the grubs, if I’m understanding correctly, they are actually going to be tearing up the lawn to get to those grubs, aren’t they?

Harold: Yes, they do a very good job in eating the grubs, but they do make a mess of your lawn. They rip it up. That’s actually a worse problem than the grub activity itself.

As long as the lawn is watered, the roots will regrow and the turf will recover. But when it’s ripped up by raccoons, possums, and those types of animals,  you’re talking about destruction of the roots. That’s why you want to try and get on a control program, if your area is prone to grub activity.

Tim: Okay. And, once my Spring Green Professional is out to help me with the insect control, is one application typically going to take care of it, or is this going to be an ongoing problem once they’ve settled in.

Harold: It depends on the time of the year and when that problem occurs. For example, if we get out there in the fall and we see that you’ve had some grub activity, we will put down a treatment to try and control those existing grubs. Then, we will schedule you for a preventative treatment for the following year, so we can make sure you don’t have that problem again next year. Just like with disease, insects come throughout the year, but most of your insects will be in the summer time.

Generally one application will control most of the subsurface feeding insects. If you have some surface feeding insects, like sod webworm, cinch bugs, or aphids, you may need a different type of product, so it may require more than one application for the different types of insects that are in your lawn.

Tim: And you know, in the summertime when I’m outside, bugs just go with being outside in the summer, so what if I just choose not to treat for the insects at all? What could that do to the lawn?

Harold: Well, you know there are millions of insects, literally. For ever acre of turf, there is estimated to be 17 million insects. So, there are a lot of bugs out there. Fortunately, very few of them are damaging.

For most home lawns, there are probably only about a dozen that can cause problems. These problems can be extensive. If the populations are high enough, they can destroy the lawn. They can cause a lot of damage, if you don’t have someone check and take care of it. It can become a much larger problem, one that would require some extensive renovation on your lawn.

The same thing is true with your trees and shrubs. Insects, especially some of the sucking and boring insects, can weaken the plant to a point where you are going to have to replace it. Replacing landscape plants is more expensive than a lawn replacement.

Tim: If you would like to know more about services available from your local Spring-Green lawn care professional, visit the Spring-Green web site, at  There you will find more detailed information, including how to contact a Spring-Green lawn care professional in your area. This has been Lawn Talk, an on-going series for homeowners looking to protect and enjoy their outdoor investment, brought to you by Spring-Green Lawn Care and its many local lawn care professionals nationwide.

Find more episodes at or on iTunes under Lawn Talk.

Thanks and have a green day!

For further reading, visit our lawn insect control tips page.