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How to: rid the lawn of pests

Keep an eye out for the following invaders of your lawn to keep it in tiptop condition this summer.

A cooling green swathe of luxurious green is the kind of lawn we all want, but our dreams can be destroyed by the arrival of explosive populations  of lawn pests. Here Matt advises on the most common, and what to do about them.


Typically you notice the damage before you see the pest. Most of them either live under ground or hide in the thatch of your lawn - well away from the eyes of predators. A bucket of warm, soapy water works a treat in bringing them up to the surface for identification. You may be surprised at the variety of critters this process can raise, but remember that it is only with population explosions in these pests that serious problems result. 

Black Beetle

This shiny black beetle is about 10mm long and can be found in lawns through summer and autumn. A couple of these beetles are not a problem, but when they get into high numbers substantial damage can be done. The larvae of this beetle are creamy white colour like most beetle larvae. Both the adult and the larvae of this beetle feed on the turf causing browning dead patches.

Control: Use Professor Mac’s 3in1 as an organic control or Munn’s Lawn Grub Killer. This product can also be used to control ants, earwigs, Millipedes, Mole Crickets, Slaters, and Corbie in lawn and gardens


Black beetles are damaging in large numbers. Photo - Matthew Carroll 

Curl Grubs

Covers a wide range of beetle larvae that can be grouped under the name “Curl Grubs” or Cockchafers. If you imagine every beetle starts as this larvae form, you can imagine how many there are in the world. Curl grubs eat organic matter including the roots of your prized lawn. They are creamy-white in colour and can also affect garden plants as well as pots.

Control: Confidor Hose on Lawn insecticide is an easy solution that connects to your hose and can treat 150m2.


Curl grubs are larval beetles. Photo - Matthew Carroll


Lawn Armyworm 

One of the most vicious of lawn pests is the lawn armyworm, which attacks, in late summer – autumn. These caterpillars are members of the moth family and feed on the green blades of grass, leaving only the twiggy thatch behind. They move in such numbers that they can wipe out an entire lawn overnight and can even march on into your house or even your swimming pool.

Control: Use Success or Professor Mac’s 3in1 as an organic control or Munn’s Lawn Grub Killer. Spray or dust the lawn with Success in the late afternoon just before they emerge to feed.


Armyworm is a larval stage of moths. Photo - Matthew Carroll



Text: Matthew Carroll

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Author: Matthew Carroll