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Common Household and Garden Pests
PestDescriptionHabitat, HostDamage, Symptoms
AntReadily recognized by small necks dnd waists, Troublesome species range in size from 1/8 to 1/2 inch long.Nests in the soil, various soil environments are conducive to ants.In turf, mounds around nest oper gs frequently smother grass. Ants may also prevent good stands by destroying newly-planted seed Some species attack flowers and shrubs A few, including fire and harvested ants, bite people.
Aphid, plant louse, greenbugSoft-bodies, round or pear-shaped, var. ious colors including yellow, light-green, powder blue and brown, seldom more than 1/8 inch long, some look woody or powdery due to a waxy excretion.Most plants are subject to infestation by aphids of one or more species.Sucking of plant juices causes curled or distorted leaves: stunted, possibly dying plants A colorless sweet secretion called honeydew may attract ants and provides a growth medium for black, 500tv mold.
ArmywormThe larvae of moths, they are 1-1/2 inches long, light tan to dark green or black with white stripes along each side and down the back. Adults (moths} are brownish gray and have a wingspan of 1-1/2 inches.General feeders, they attack all common turfgrasses, many vegetables, and flowers of many ornamentalBare, circular areas in lawns may indicate the presence of armyworms. They feed on the blades of grass, making the turf look ragged and bare.
Bermudagrass miteTiny, eight-legged, and cigar-shaped, they are white although not visible without magnification.Primarily Bermudagrass in Florida, Louisiana, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and California.Mites suck sap from the grass blades, causing wilting and stunting. Grass be- comes bushy or tufted and has a yellow or brov/n, llnhPzlthy appearance.
Billbug (grubsi, ado called lawn weevil, snout beetleAdults vary in color from light olive yellow to reddish brown to black and are from 1/4 to 1/2 inch long with long snouts The larvae or grubs are white, short, legless, chunky and curved, with a distinctive hard yellow-brown head.Corn, turf and other grasses.When larvae hatch, they feed inside the stem. Outgrowing that they move to the soil and attack roots and crowns of plants often leaving a sawdust-like frass on the soil surface. Adults feed on stems and foliage leaving a series of transverse holes in leaves, and a ripped or shreaded stem.
Brown dog tickThe adult male is flat, 1/8 inch long and uniformly red-brown. The female, before feeding, resembles the male As she becomes engorged with blood, the female may grow to 1/2 inch long, 1/4 inch wide and 1/8 inch thick The engorged retortion of the body becomes bhle-grey.Dogs are almost the exclusive host but other mammals, including man, are occasionally attackedFrequently invading buildings, brown dog ticks become a nuisance pest. In the south they are also Common in lawns and recreation areas. Attaching to skin, mainly on dogs, they may cause irritation and inflammation.
Chigger, jigger, red bugOval, bright yellow-range; size of a pin- head or smaller.Most numerous east of the Rocky Mountains, chiggers invade lawns during tered red blotching of skin usually takes the summer Microscopic larvae attack man.Poisonous bite irritates and causes scattered red blotching of skin usually takes place under tight areas of clothing Intense itching may continue for a week or more.
Chinch bug, hairy chinch bug, southern lawn chinch bugFull-grown nymphs and adults are red-black; adults have white wings folded over the back and are 1/6 inch long Nymphs are smaller and bright red bluegrass lawns.Infesting lawns from spring until frost, chinch bugs prefer sunny areas; thrive during hot dry weather, and damage St Augustine, bentgrass and bluegrass lawns.Bleached, yellow areas of grass which rapidly turn brown are often caused by chinch bugs which suck the juices from plants. The bugs, though tiny, can be found in thatch or at the bases of infested grass.
Clover miteOnly 1/30 inch long {smaller than a pinhead) the adult clover mite is dark red and has eight legs, the frontal pair long and extending forward from the body.Although they feed on Covers and grasses, these mites lay eggs and return to molt in trees or cracks and crevices of building walls Heavy infestations appear in heavily fertilized lawns and may hrva(ie homes during the springSucking of plant juices brings a bleached or silvered book to blades of grass.
CricketMost species have dark, rounded, grasshopper-like bodies and prominent antennae Size ranges from 1/2 to 1-1/2 inches long Females have a prominent swordlike ovipositor Mole crickets are light brown with lighter underbody sometimes tinged with green They have short stout forelegs, shovel shaped feet and large, beady eyes.By day they hide under boards, low- lying foliage or trash: coming out at night to feed. They have a varied diet including flowers and tender growth of many garden plants Mole crickets live in turf.Presence of crickets in the garden, under leaves of cabbage, cucumbers, and other crops indicates potential for damage. Presence of adult or immature mole cricket in grass is a sign they might damage turf Mole crickets burrow in the ground, feeding on grass roots, uprooting seedlings and causing soil to dry out quickly.
CutwormSoft bodied, dull gray green, brown or black caterpillars. some species are spotted, others striped. Size varies from 1-1/4 to 2 inches long They curl up tightly when disturbed Adults are gray-brown moths readily attracted to lights at night.All turfgrasses, dichondra, several flower varieties and most vegetables, especially early-season pepper, tomato, peas, beans and Cole crops, are subject to attack. Most species hide in the soil or under trash during the day and come out at night.Some feed on leaves, buds or fruit while others feed on underground portions of plants: plant cut off at or below soil surface is sure sign.
Digger waspSeveral wasps are ascribed to this group including thread-waisted, cicada- killers, mud daubers and several mining species.The wasps dig nests or burrows in the ground and mound the soil at the en trance to the nests.Digging in lawns may damage turf. Wasps' presence may be a nuisance as they may sting people if disturbed.
EarwigBeetle-like insects red-brown, 3/4 inch long, easy to identify by their prominent pair of forceps at the rear of the body.Found occasionally in lawns, they breed in piles of lawn clippings or other trash and feed on many types of vegetation. They hide during the day and forage at night.Contrary to superstition, they do not attack the ears of man. They do attack and destroy flowers and garden vege tables. Some types create a nuisance by invading the home.
FleaNarrow-bodied, 1/16 inch long, dark brown, and spiny with well-developed jumping legs.Adults feed on the blood of man, cats, dogs and many other animals. Immature stages develop off the host in organic matter.Bites aren't usually felt immediately, but become increasingly irritating for several days to a week.
LeafhopperAdults are green, yellow or brown: rarely more than 1/4 inch long; wedge-shaped. Immature forms resemble adults and are easily spotted by their sideways movement.All turf grasses, dichondra, and fruit, nut and ornamental trees as well as most garden vegetables are attacked by various leafhoppers.Due to leafhoppers feeding on underside, leaves curl or roll downward, crinkle and turn yellow or red-brown. Some plants may become dwarfed, even die. These insects also might transmit several important plant diseases.
MillipedeSometimes called thousand- legged worms they`re brown, strong smelling elongated, have several uniform body segments with two Pairs of legs on each segment.Found mostly under rocks, boards, compost or other sheltered areas, they feed on roots, tubers, bulbs, fleshy stems and seeds. In Florida the tropical millipede is considered a lawn pest.Damaged plants, near heavily infested areas may indicate nuisance levels have been reached.
Sod webworm (lawn moth), lawn worm, webworm, grub Light brown or grayish-white with brown specks and a dark brown head, 1/2 to 1 inch long, covered with fine hairs, they are larvae of small white or gray lawn moths or millers that are often seen flying over the grass in the early evening.Most common lawn grasses.Small patches of dead grass clipped off at ground level, presence of adult moths, silken webs in grass leading to silk-lined holes into the ground.
Scale crawlerThe large group of insects called scale are minute and characterized by a waxy covering which they secrete after attach ing themselves to the bark of a tree, hence their name. Crawlers (young), only 1/8 inch in diameter, appear in May, move to new feeding sites, molt and lose their legs. The female insect is about 1/4 inch long although the covering may be much larger.All types of trees and ornamental plants are attacked by scales which weaken them by sucking plant juices from trunks, branches and leaves.Discolored (sometimes red) spots on leaves, stems, and fruit; encrusted stems, spotty infestations on leaves.
Sowbug, pillbugLight gray to slate - colored, 1/2 inch long, sowbugs have segmented bodies with seven pairs of legs. Not insects, they are crustaceae along with shrimp, crabs and lobsters. When disturbed some species roll up and resemble pillsUsually found on damp ground under rocks, boards, leaf piles, or in damp basements, they feed on organic matter in the soil and sometimes attack roots and tender parts of flowers and vegetables.Effects are similar to grub damage although infestations seldom are severe enough to cause significant damage.
Springtail (collembolar)Several species of various colors are found in the U.S.; 1/25 to 1/16 inch long; they jump like fleas by means of a tail like appendage.Damp places in gardens and seedbeds.Round holes chewed in stems and leaves of young seedlings.
Spider mite, red spiderTiny (barely visible to the naked eye); red to greenish red; eight legged appear as moving specks on leaf undersides.Fruit trees, beans, roses, spruces, berries, tomatoes, squash, cucumbers.Yellow specks and fine silken webs on leaves; plants and fruits stunted; foliage bronzed or rusty.
ThripSlender; usually brown or yellow but also black; 1/25 to 1/8 inch long; leave brown specks wherever they feed.Variety of plants but most favored are asparagus, beans, onions, iris, gladioli, and roses.Leaves having stippled appearance similar to mite damage except for the characteristic specks left by thrips. Flower buds fail to open or are deformed, streaked, and discolored when they open.
WhiteflyYoung are pale green, rounded, flat and scale - like, lying motionless on leaf underside: adults are small wedge shaped white insects that fly when disturbed.Wide range including citrus, greenhouse plantings, vegetables, and ornamentals.Leaves become mottled or stippled and the plants may eventually turn yellow and die. Leaves can also become sticky with honeydew which provides a medium for black, sooty mold.
White grub of Japanese beetle, European chafer, and southern chaferBlunt, creamy-white; hard, yellow or brown head, slight covering of hair, three pair of legs; usually found in the soil curled into C shape.Female beetles lay eggs 2 to 6 inches deep in soil. Upon hatching, grubs feed on decaying vegetation but later on the roots of grasses and other plants.Irregular, dead patches in lawn; turf feels spongy and can be rolled up like a carpet because roots have been eaten. Moles, skunks, and birds feed on the grubs and tear up the turf getting them.

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