Many lawn lovers enjoy the look bermuda grass brings to home landscapes. With the high-brow aesthetic appeal and fine grass blades, a bermuda grass lawn is something that makes any home stand out from the rest of the neighborhood. This can quickly come to an end if the wrong kind of insect invades. Sod University’s Insect Identification blog is a helpful guide that educates homeowners on the most common types of insects that can cause the most significant damage. Each grass type is more prone to certain insects, though.
Bermuda grass in particular is more susceptible to insects like bermuda grass mites, for example. If you have a bermuda grass lawn, understanding which bugs, grubs and insects prefer to chow down on this grass type is great for forming prevention strategies and possibly even curative solutions when circumstances get severe enough.
Common Insects in Bermuda Grass Lawns
With that being said, some of the most common insects that love munching on the roots and blades of bermuda grass are grub worms, or white grubs, cutworms, sod webworms, fall armyworms, billbugs, mole crickets, fire ants, nematodes and bermuda grass mites.
Pictured above from left to right: Grub worms, a cutworm, a sod webworm and a fall armyworm.
Pictured above from left to right: A billbug, a mole cricket, fire ants and a nematode.
Having the ability to identify the kind of insect or grub you are dealing with provides you with insight on which control products to use—especially when you’re dealing with a severe problem. Once you know the name of the insect, you can browse herbicide labels to see which products will treat them. Be sure to read the product labels thoroughly so that you know if the chemical can be applied to your lawn without damaging the grass. Follow the product label’s instructions upon application. It is important to know that there are a few cultural, non-chemical control methods for insect control you can use as well.
Cultural Methods of Insect Control in Bermuda Grass
One of the most important things you can do to fight off insects and pests is keep your bermuda grass healthy with regular maintenance practices. This includes mowing at the right times and at an appropriate height of 0.5–1.5 inches. Ideal mowing heights for bermuda grass slightly vary from brand to brand, but generally speaking, a height of 0.5–1.5 inches is optimal.
Mowing reduces the amount of grass blade for insects to live and nest in. When grass becomes too tall in height, it provides optimal coverage for insects to reside in. They may even lay their eggs here and continue to feed. Keeping the surface of your lawn clean will reduce chances of insect infestation.
Be sure not to over irrigate your lawn. Most bermuda grass needs about one inch of water per week including rainfall. Not only does overwatering promote disease outbreaks; standing water is a perfect invitation for other pests like mosquitos, termites, cockroaches and other pests. Although these insects won’t severely damage your lawn, the standing water will weaken your lawn so that it can’t fight back against stressors like other harmful pests.
Another helpful tip is to dethatch your lawn. Thatch is a layer of debris below the grass that accumulates over time. It consists of all kinds of natural matter that eventually forms a semi-solid mat. Dethatch your lawn once a year or once every other year to keep the layer from becoming too thick.
Applying a fertilizer on your lawn may sound odd because it doesn’t directly reduce insect damage—but it does help your grass form a dense, thick layer above the surface of the soil so that insect damage doesn’t greatly impact the lawn. Apply fertilizer regularly to help your zoysia grass stay lush and healthy. Sod University recommends the LawnifiTM Fertilizer Program or Lawnifi Foundation.
Chemical Prevention for Insects in Bermuda Grass Lawns
Oftentimes, the same type of insect control product for treatment of currently invading insects can be used for prevention, but at a smaller rate. It’s encouraged to apply a systemic insect control product at a preventive rate—especially if you’ve had problems with insect invasions in the past. Systemic insecticides are absorbed into the plant and circulate through the plant’s tissues. As a result, the chemicals kill the insects feeding on the plants.
Sometimes you can prepare ahead of time by purchasing an insect control product labeled to treat the kind of insect you’ve experienced in the past. On the other hand, if you aren’t sure which kind of insect you might see in the near future, a broad-spectrum insect control product may be your best option. A broad-spectrum insecticide, as its name suggests, will be labeled to control a wide range of common insects.
In either scenario, you will be applying less product for prevention than you will for fighting an invasion off—and less product means less money. This is why we believe it’s better to apply preventatively than it is to apply at a curative rate.
Be sure to read the product labels thoroughly so that you know if the chemical can be applied to your lawn without damaging the grass. Follow the product label’s instructions upon application.
Chemical Treatments for Insects in Zoysia Grass Lawns
After you’ve accurately identified the kind of insect that is causing damage to your lawn, you can begin researching the best insecticide to kill off the insect you’re seeing. Our blog on The Best Insect Killers for Home Lawns suggests a list of some of the best ones available. Here are our a few of our top-recommended products.
- Coverage: One bottle covers 2,500 sq. ft.
- Active Ingredient(s): Gamma Cyhalothrin 0.08%.
- Ease of Use: Hooks up to the end of your garden hose for even spray application.
- Best Used On/For: Outdoor general insect control.
- Coverage: 30 lbs. cover between 16,000–21,000 sq. ft.
- Active Ingredient: Imidacloprid 0.5%.
- Ease of Use: Requires a drop or broadcast spreader for application.
- Best Used On/For: General outdoor insect control.
- Coverage: One quart covers between 106,000–458,000 sq. ft.
- Active Ingredient: Bifenthrin 25.1%.
- Ease of Use: Requires tank mixing and spray application.
- Best Used On/For: Pre- and post-construction termite treatments, turf and ornamentals and outdoor perimeter pest control.
When using control products, be sure to read the product labels thoroughly so that you know if the chemical can be applied to your lawn without damaging the grass. Follow the product label’s instructions upon application.