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David Beaulieu

Identifying Lawn Insects

By August 9, 2005

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This introduction to identifying lawn insects shows you some of the harmful lawn insects, while pointing out that they're not all bad. Call it, "the good, the bad and the ugly."


September 1, 2008 at 8:40 am
(1) katie Waters says:

I have dozens of little white moths in the lawn and wondering what they are and how to get rid of them. Thank you

September 1, 2008 at 9:57 pm
(2) landscaping says:

The moths are a result of a sod webworm infestation. But unless the sod webworms are causing a lot of damage to your grass, most experts advise you to leave eradication up to the natural enemies of the sod webworms: beetles, ants, and parasitic wasps, for example.

May 10, 2009 at 1:24 pm
(3) C. Lewis says:

My son found a lot of red beetle like insects in the grass along, but not on the foundation of my house. Any ideas what they might be?

March 10, 2011 at 4:40 pm
(4) t. ash says:

Just like C. Lewis, we also have thousands of these red looking beetles along our house and they seem to like the bottom half of our tree trunk as well. Any suggestions on what they are and what to do. They seem to be moving along side the perimeter of the house.

March 10, 2011 at 6:21 pm
(5) landscaping says:

There are many kinds of red beetles. The two that come to mind right away (in terms of being red beetles that can occur in swarms) are lady bugs and boxelder beetles. Lady bugs are harmless and actually considered a beneficial insect for gardeners. From what I read about boxelder beetles, it seems that they, too are relatively harmless.

May 30, 2009 at 8:03 pm
(6) Brenda Barry says:

I have these very small black bugs all over my lawn. I can’t identify these bugs. Could they be baby chinch bugs? I put granules down and they won’t disapear.

September 4, 2009 at 6:14 pm
(7) Heidi says:

We seem to have patches of small reddish, brownish ants in our grass about every 5 ft. or so. The larger ones have wings, and they seem to be crawling to the tips of the grass and flying away. What are these???

November 1, 2009 at 9:10 am
(8) Bill Jackson says:

I live in North Central Florida and have a centipede lawn I seeded that is 5 years old and fully irrigated. About three months ago, in an area about 10′X10′, I noticed the grass was starting to thin and looked like it was dry, but it is getting plenty of water. I picked up some of the grass and it had no roots and rolled right up like new sod that had just been laid. I recently picked up all the bad grass and put out sand to fill the void. I then noticed hundreds of little ‘ant hills’ that are so small it looks like a single ant lives in them. Can you tell me what this might be and how to rid them? I already treat my yard for pests 2X a yr.

November 14, 2009 at 4:16 pm
(9) landscaping says:


It’s possible you have something called “centipede decline,” as discussed on the American Lawns Web site. If that’s the case, then you’re not dealing with a “lawn insect” problem — the ants would be just an after-effect, not a cause of the problem.

February 6, 2010 at 11:33 pm
(10) sharon says:

I have piles of mud all over my lawn caused by some grub or something. This happens in the winter months. I live in White Rock, B.C. Canada.

February 10, 2010 at 1:16 pm
(11) Terry says:

I live in the Seattle area and last year we started seeing lumps and little mounds in the yard. I arreated last year and top dressed the whole yard but it has been a mild winter here and the mounds are starting to come back. I suspect some kind of larve but am not sure how to treat it. The mounds are only about a inch high and 3-4 inches round. Any idea on what is going on and how to treat it?

February 10, 2010 at 3:15 pm
(12) landscaping says:


I’m afraid we’ll need a bit more to go on than that. Have you ruled out ants and worms? The next step would be to capture the culprit and bring it to your local cooperative extension for identification.

March 19, 2010 at 9:19 pm
(13) Jerry Bowman says:

Thousands of small ant hill looking things – no ants – very small worms. Look like earth worms but very small.
This has been going on for two years. Have put gallons of Sevin liquid on the lawn but doesnt seem to do anything. Have been told by a Nursery to use Sevin 70% strength, can’t find it.

April 16, 2010 at 1:34 am
(14) mike says:

I have robins digging or pecking holes in my lawn. 2 yrs ago had grub worms on otherside of walkway. i thought i treated the whole lawn last yr in the fall. Lawn getting brownish and falls apart when i was raking this early spring 4 weeks ago, chicago area. i poked around but did not really dig up to discover exactly what they are after. should it, or do i need to or can i just treat it. I now also recall last 2 yrs some ant problem in region as well but did treat that with something last yr that worked and was posted as a good ant treatment. please help before i just start digging up larger area.

May 1, 2010 at 11:53 am
(15) landscaping says:


I’d focus on the grubs, first. Products like Grub-X need to be re-applied, so I’d just be persistent with this treatment.

May 20, 2010 at 4:37 pm
(16) sandi says:

We have some large hard bodied bright red grub like insects in our garden. They are about 1 inch long and 1/2 inch wide. What are they please.

May 30, 2010 at 4:23 pm
(17) Sheila says:

We started seeing our lawn turning brown, thought it was because it’s so dry. But today we found worms…not sure if it’s grub worms or chinch worms. What can I do to get rid of them before they ruin all of my lawn? Please help!!

May 31, 2010 at 9:14 am
(18) landscaping says:


If it’s grub worms, try a product called “Grub-X.” More than one application may be required.

June 14, 2010 at 1:31 pm
(19) Rhonda says:

I have mushroom growing on my front lawn they are taking over, is there anything that I could do to get rid of this problem.

June 15, 2010 at 9:08 am
(20) David Beaulieu says:


You could put on some gloves and remove the mushrooms by hand, before they open up and release more spores (thereby propagating themselves). However, most mushrooms aren’t generally considered a major problem for a lawn.

November 1, 2010 at 11:49 pm
(21) Margaret says:

I have centipede grass and we have large brown circles in the grass – we have been told they are skittle bugs
what do we do?

January 25, 2011 at 9:24 am
(22) David Beaulieu says:


Sounds more like a disease called “brown spot” than lawn insects. Brown spot is caused by a fungus. This disease is somewhat inaptly named, since, to identify it, it’s not brown spots that you’re looking for, but brown circles.

Lawn services treat brown spot with a fungicide. Once you’ve eradicated the brown patch, take preventive measures to avoid reoccurrence. Chiefly — since brown spot is caused by a fungus — that means promoting good drainage and air circulation. Dethatching your lawn would be a step in the right direction.

November 26, 2010 at 10:17 am
(23) Rachel says:

there are what looks like ant hills in my lawn but I don’t see any ants. What could I have??

November 26, 2010 at 11:22 am
(24) landscaping says:


Have a look at this Q&A on objects in a lawn that look like ant hills but aren’t.

June 2, 2011 at 9:43 pm
(25) Karyn says:

We have these very annoying “gnats” that fly up from our grass [all over our yard]. They drive us crazy, esp the kids. What are these “gnats”? Is there anything that can kill them & is safe for the kids and our dog?

June 3, 2011 at 10:22 am
(26) landscaping says:


Sorry, you’ll have to be more specific about what these lawn insects look like. If you could point us to a website that offers a picture of such “gnats,” that would be most helpful.

September 11, 2011 at 7:18 pm
(27) Dawn says:

We have noticed these flying insects around 5pm each evening. They appear as dark spots on the lawn and as I look closer it is hundreds of mosquito looking bugs that fly up from the grass. I have sprayed raid on these patches and they die but I’m sure that’s not safe for other wildlife. Wondering if this is the same thing you have. Didn’t notice these until early September.

September 12, 2011 at 8:17 am
(28) landscaping says:


Sounds like it to me. Gnats look like big mosquitoes.

June 21, 2011 at 9:10 am
(29) MAD says:

I have something in the bed of my grass that is small like nats. These insects do not bite, but I can see them when I walk through my grass and are only found in my backyard. They are so tiny and appear to be either light green or white in color. I don’t know how else to describe them. I put a little pool in the back yard for the kids to play and they where all over the pool. Please help!

September 22, 2011 at 12:48 pm
(30) Kelly-Anne says:

Hi, I have recently seen little mud hills spread all over my yard. I wonder if they may be from slugs… I just moved to the UK and we didn’t have a slug infestation back home so I am not sure. But I have noticed my plants are being eaten.

I could send a photo but unsure how on this forum.

As a bonus, any help on effective lawn maintenance that is environmentally safe would be preferred.

Thank you muchly;

September 23, 2011 at 8:58 am
(31) landscaping says:


Worm castings could be described as “little mud hills.” They and the worms that create them are not only harmless but very beneficial to your lawn and landscape.

April 17, 2012 at 8:45 pm
(32) gwen says:

is there anything i can buy to put on the lawn for moths. They are in the grass and i really want them out.


April 18, 2012 at 7:55 am
(33) landscaping says:


One solution might be to place moth balls in jars. Poke holes in the covers of the jars. Pull up pieces of sod here and there in the lawn and insert a jar, then put the sod back down. The reason for the jars is that moth balls are toxic, so you wouldn’t want your kids and/or pets coming into contact with them.

April 19, 2012 at 7:13 pm
(34) Joyce says:

We have holes about 1 inch in diameter in our lawn and in mulch lining a fence. These appear to be pretty deep and many times the holes are dug next to a plant and kills the plant . We do not have the typical mole hills or vole piles of dirt. These appear to just be as if a metal oblject has poked holes in the lawn and mulch area . Any suggestions as to what is causing this problem.

April 19, 2012 at 8:00 pm
(35) landscaping says:


I can’t tell you for sure what it is. But I can’t rule out chipmunks.

June 23, 2012 at 1:17 pm
(36) Edith says:

What are beetle like insects that fly by the hundreds just above the lawn and are seen from 11 am to about 4pm in Late June and how can you get rid of them??

July 9, 2012 at 11:52 pm
(37) Cathy says:

I am trying to find out the species of a worm. It is black with a white belly. It’s about 2-3″ long. It has on 2 separate occasions attached itself to my dogs paws. I took the worm off and killed it, thinking it was an army worm but on research I found it doesn’t resemble the armworm. This worm, when attached to my dogs feet, drove my dog crazy. She was doing anything and everything to get away from it. So I’m guessing that it may have been biting her. Any help on this matter would be much appreciated.

July 17, 2012 at 9:22 pm
(38) johnny says:

I have what look to be small pinky size nail snails that come up from around the edge of my grass, not sure what they are but have small snails in them. they seem to come out after a good watering. any idea’s?

August 10, 2012 at 6:47 pm
(39) Terry W. says:

I have these spider like bugs all thru my yard,they have 8 legs and what looks like black wings and pinchers,any idea?

August 15, 2012 at 10:57 pm
(40) Dolly says:

When cutting the grass this evening, I noticed a strange creature (not sure what it is) skittering across the grass. It was about 1 1/2 inches long and somewhat colorful – green and blue or purple maybe? It moved VERY fast! Is it something bad?

August 28, 2012 at 5:02 pm
(41) Brian Peters says:

I have a centipede lawn and live in Raleigh NC. I have noticed a wet milky white foam in the grass when I am pulling weeds. It is almost like the consistency of spit and is like a little wet foamy
sack of goo. It is turning the centipede brown and black where it is located. What is this stuff and how can I get rid of it?

September 7, 2012 at 2:04 pm
(42) landscaping says:


What you’re seeing could possibly be the foam made by spittlebugs.

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