How to Identify & Prevent Common Lawn Pests in Southwest Florida

December 9th, 2019


If you are a homeowner in Southwest Florida, having a healthy and well-tended lawn is probably very important to you. With the hot and humid weather in Florida, there are many outdoor pests that take up residence in your lawn. Here are some common lawn pests you might find in your yard in Southwest Florida.

Chinch Bugs

Chinch bugs are small bugs between 1/10 – 1/8 inches long, with black bodies and white, shiny wings that fold on their back. They are active all year long. Although they are not harmful to humans, they are piercing, sucking insects that suck the juice out of grass while injecting a toxin that kills grass. They tend to attack sunny areas of lawns and dwell in the thatch layer or in the crowns of individual grass plants.


Grubs are the larval forms of beetles – they can be between ¼ of an inch to 2 inches long and are creamy white and C-shaped with six legs. The larvae hatch in May and June, but they are year long pests. They damage lawns by feeding on the roots of turf grass. You can identify a grub infestation by seeing thin, yellow patches, scatter brown patches, or soft spongey areas of grass where the root damage has occurred.

Fall Army Worms

Fall army worms are a type of moth caterpillar. They are 1 to 2 includes long about the width of a pencil. They are light tan to shades of grey or green in color, with a head that is usually shiny black or brown, with a prominent yellow or white inverted “Y” marketing their front. Their body has stripes and black mole-like structures. They can typically be found in spring to fall, mostly around June through September. The worms typically lay their eggs on the underside of leaves, and then as the larvae hatches, they feed on the plants and grass close by. They are swift movers and can destroy shrubs and large patches of grass overnight.

Sod Web Worms

Sod web worms are another type of moth caterpillar. They are about ¾ inches long and vary in color from pinkish-white to yellowish brow. They have a dark brown or blac khead and are covered in fine hair. They are most active in spring and fall months. They typically rest in shrubbery during daylight hours and fly over grass in evenings, laying eggs over the lawn. You can spot an infestation by looking for brown spots and chewed grass blades. Like fall army worms, large areas of grass can be damaged severely in just a few days.

Fire Ants

Living in Southwest Florida, you are probably familiar with fire ants. Fire ants can be found in colonies that contain small bugs around 1/8 to ¼ of an inch in length that is brown or red in color. You will first recognize a dome-shaped mound they create on the ground, and you can see large swarms of ants moving together. Fire ants now only pose a significant threat to your lawn but pose a threat to people and pets with their venomous stings that can cause painful reactions.

Tips to Prevent Lawn Pests in Southwest Florida

No matter what you do to prevent bugs, it’s not always foolproof. That being said, here are a few tips that you can do to help your lawn flourish. First off, use a grass species that is known to grow well in your area, and do not trim the grass too short which promotes thatch to build up where many bugs like to dwell. Also, water the grass deeply, but infrequently.

Even if you take the best care of your lawn possible, you are still at risk of a pest infestation. If you are finding any of these pests in your lawn, they can do a lot of damage that is expensive to repair. If you are experiencing a lawn pest infestation it may be time to get professional pest control services.

Alford Wildlife is a professional pest management company that is licensed and has experience in a variety of areas including preventative pest control, pest removal, and pest extermination services. Contact us today at (239) 245-7482 to learn more!

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