Nothing is quite as welcoming as a thick, green lawn surrounding a home. But that living outdoor carpet comes at a cost, from installing the best grass to the routine maintenance of watering and mowing. In Nevada, the average cost of mowing is $38, and most homeowners have their lawns trimmed every week during peak growing season. That outlay alone can mount up. The last thing anyone needs is for lawn pests to undermine the investment.
Las Vegas is rich with critters, and it’s important to discern beneficial visitors from destructive ones. Here’s a list of some of the area’s worst offenders.
These most damaging of all lawn pests are the larvae of a wide variety of beetles. This includes the highly destructive Japanese beetle, currently on the state alert list. Plump and C-shaped, beetle larvae feast on grassroots just below the soil surface and are active in spring, summer, and early fall. Signs of their handiwork begins with wilted grass, followed by brown turf patches. Spongy, grub-damaged turf lifts easily off the soil in spring and summer to reveal the larvae underneath. The presence of crows, skunks, or moles searching for a tasty meal may also indicate grub activity.
The larvae of cutworm moths that lay eggs on the tips of your grass are about two inches long and gray or brown with striping. The worm hatchlings feed at night and stay hidden during the day. Cutworms become adult moths in two to four weeks, and reproduction repeats three to six times a year. Areas with mild winters such as ours experience more reproduction cycles. The worms gnaw grass stems completely off. Short grasses are the most vulnerable. Early in the infestation, if you look closely, you can see the underground burrows where the worms shelter. You’ll notice the sheared-off grass, followed by dead spots.
Fire ants forage through lawns and sometimes make it into your house. These aggressive pests can ruin anybody’s picnic and create unsightly hills that are visible through the grass. From these hills, they move out to feed on other growth in your yard. They’re nearly impossible to get rid of, but with the right insecticides or bait, you can control them.
Bugs aren’t the only villains when it comes to lawn care. Pocket gophers, field mice, voles, and rats also create problems for your lawn. In a hunt for grubs, some of these critters will excavate large sections of turf.
Las Vegas is home to several species of mice and rats that can use your lawn as the launching pad for an invasion of your house. If you suspect any pest of taking up residence on your beautiful lawn, act promptly, before the infestation becomes extreme. Professional exterminators can help you make short order of backyard invaders by identifying the culprit and developing the right program for treatment. It could also prevent the pests from returning to bug you in the future.