Major Insect Pests of Turf in the U.S.
Certain insects prefer specific turf types, but others infest a great number of grasses and broadleaf plants. Pests such as ground pearls, mole crickets, and fire ants infest warm-season turfgrass whereas pests such as the European chafer infest cool-season areas. Fall army worms, often migrating in large armies, are potential turf and pasture pests in late summer and fall. Consuming all aboveground plant parts, they are capable of killing or severely retarding the growth of grasses. Some resistant turfgrasses are available for sod webworms. In addition, parasites, nematodes, and neem tree extract, azidiractin, have been shown to be effective against these pests. Numerous natural enemies also attack sod webworms. The grubs are serious pests of lawns, other grasses, and nursery stock. Tender grasses are preferred to tougher varieties. Two separate species, the northern masked chafer and the southern masked chafer, are important turfgrass pests.