Bermuda Grass Pests and Insects
Just as frustrating as a lawn disease are lawn pests - moles, bugs, insects, grubs or any other living creature that tends to destroy our grass. (To be fair, sometimes we and our pets are just as hard on our grass.)
Many bermuda grass pests live and wreak their havoc below ground making them even more difficult to diagnose and treat. Some pests, like the white grub, are so common and predictable that annual treatment is necessary even though the initial signs may not be visible.
Fortunately, Scotts®, Bayer®, Spectracide® and others have developed lawn treatments that target a wide variety of insects and pests making the task of keeping destructive creatures at bay fairly simple. For example, Ortho® Home Defense granules attack not only ants but armyworms, cutworms, and sod webworms among many other pests.
What types of bugs infest bermuda grass?
The most common, damaging insects to bermuda grass are armyworms, cutworms, sod webworms, bermudagrass mites, mealybug (rhodegrass scale), and white grubs.
How do I get rid of bermuda grass pests?
For those seeking the most environmentally-friendly options, the Texas Cooperative Extension recommends milky spore disease to control white grubs, baccilus thuringensis for armyworms, cutworms, sod webworms and neodusmetia sangwai for controlling mealybugs.
A ground bee emerges from a nest in bermudagrass. Groundbees rarely sting and are great pollinators for flowers and vegetables.
While poor lawn management (heavy nitrogen, close mowing, and frequent watering) can make it easier for pests to thrive in your bermuda grass lawn, sometimes a chemical solution is your best option. Diazinon was the best chemical for treating these pests and targeted all of them. However, Diazinon was outlawed for residential use in 2004 because of its harmful impact on the environment and bird species.
Chlorpyrifos (Dursban) targets all but mealybug (rhodegrass scale) but it too has been restricted to agricultural use only.
Our opinion is that the best available alternative for residential lawn use is any product containing bifenthrin (Bifen LP, Talstar, Ortho Max, Scotts Lawn Pro Step 3) which targets all common bermuda grass insects except the mealybug (rhodegrass scale). Do be careful around lakes, streams and ponds, however, as bifenthrin is very toxic to aquatic life.
Alternatively, Spectracide's Triazicide® uses lambda-cyhalothrin to control the bermuda grass pests listed above except bermuda grass mites. Like bifenthrin, lambda-cyhalothrin is highly toxic to fish but has little affect on birds. It is also toxic to bees.