Grub damage

Signs You May Have Lawn Pests

Keep your lawn and your family healthy

Sometimes lawn insects stand in the way of a lush, emerald green lawn and vibrant plants. How they make your garden look can certainly put a damper on your aesthetic. Not to mention, they can severely affect the health of your plants, and potentially even yourself (mosquitoes, ticks and fleas, we're looking at you).

For your plants, symptoms can range from brown spots to a dull or drab-looking lawn to bare areas or thinning. You might not even know if insects are to blame since those symptoms may indicate multiple problems, like a lack of water or fertilization issues.

Let’s take a look at some common pests in Virginia lawns and their symptoms, so you can better identify what’s causing your lawn woes.

Common Pests in Virginia Lawns

When you sense that your lawn isn’t happy, and you suspect insects, looking for some common signs of their presence is a great first step.

You’re on the hunt for yellow or brown spots, patches of grass that appear dead or dying, wilting grass blades, grass that pulls up easily, holes in your soil, and even actual insects in various forms of their life.

Here are some common lawn pests to watch out for in Virginia.



Grubs are the worst of the lawn-damaging insects in Virginia.

Grubs, which are usually white in color, are actually the larvae of a wide variety of beetles, including Japanese beetles. In the summer, adult beetles mate and lay eggs in the soil. In two weeks, these eggs hatch, producing grubs, and those are the pests that feed on your lawn’s roots.

As the weather cools in fall, grubs burrow underground and go dormant. But once spring returns and the soil warms again, they continue feasting on your lawn’s roots, getting fatter and eating more.

Unless you’re looking under the soil, you might not see these C-shaped larvae. But other signs of grubs in the lawn include wilted grass, brown patches, or even dead grass. As you walk on the grass, it may feel spongy under your feet or you might be able to lift up patches of lawn easier than you should be able to, revealing the severed roots.

Another big sign of grubs in your lawn is finding moles or skunks digging your lawn up looking for grubs to eat.

Chinch Bug

Chinch Bugs

Chinch bugs are another lawn-destroying insect in Virginia.

You may not notice their blackish-gray bodies or white wings, since they are only one-sixth of an inch long, but what you will notice is the lawn damage they cause.

Chinch bugs suck the moisture right out of your grass blades, usually during summer. These pests can multiply pretty quickly. You may not even notice the damage until it’s pretty extensive.

If you suspect chinch bugs, you’ll likely see yellowing grass. Any change of color is something you should keep an eye on.


Sod Webworms

Sod webworms also can cause some trouble in your lawn.

These pests look like beige moths that can grow to about three-quarters of an inch long, but the adults aren’t your biggest problem. It’s the larvae that feed on grass blades in spring that you have to watch out for.

You’ll typically find more serious lawn damage in summer – July and August – as the sod webworm larva grows. Signs of their infestation are usually round brown patches that are similar in size to baseballs.


Fleas, Ticks and Mosquitoes

Not only are there pesky bugs that destroy your plants, but there's also dangerous ones that can cause harm to people and pets. Fleas, ticks and mosquitos thrive on the blood of mammals, putting you, your loved ones and your guests in their crosshairs.

Standing water is the haven for mosquitos, as they spawn in shallow pools, birdbaths and puddles. Fleas and ticks love tall grasses, particularly those where wildlife frequents, as they tend to hitch rides on deer, mice, and other creatures. If your pet or your people are finding itchy bites on their bodies, you might have a bug problem in your yard.

How to Get Rid of Virginia Lawn Pests

If you’re experiencing some of the problems we’ve described above, there’s a chance you could have lawn pests.

It’s important to remember that lawn damage can be caused by many things, like drought or disease. While you certainly may have a pest problem, you might also have something else going on. If you notice numerous signs that something is off – and especially if you’ve actually seen a grub or two – this is a good time to call in a professional to assess your lawn damage and offer some guidance.

Your local landscape professional should be able to identify your problem since they see these issues all the time. Then they will be able to offer some solid lawn and garden maintenance steps that can help your lawn bounce back, or provide pest control services, giving you peace of mind.

Contact us today. The maintenance experts at Rossen Landscape can inspect your lawn and offer some insight into how you can get that thick, green lawn you crave. Then all you have to do is sit back and enjoy your outdoor oasis.