Fall Lawn Pest

Fall has finally arrived here in central Florida, temperatures are dropping and the sun is shining. Holiday décor and shopping are on everyone’s minds.  While you are distracted with holiday cheer, there are some pests that tend to thrive in your lawn this time of year and throughout the winter.

Here are a few pests to watch out for:

Fall Army Worm :

  • Can be found year-round here.
  • Feed 24/7 365 and do not discriminate food sources but prefer Bermuda Grass.
  • Larvae – start tiny and green, turn into chunky worms with  dark brown with a gold/yellow stripe down the back and darker stripes on both sides
  • Fully grown 1 ½ inch

Tropical Sod Worm:

  • Most common here
  • Nocturnal can be found curled up during the day
  • Larvae – Greenish-gray in color lots of brown spots all over
  • Fully grown ¾-1inch
  • 3-4 Generations per year
  • 5–6-week life cycle
The damage from both of these worms is very visible to the naked eye,
  • Visible bites taken out of leaves
  • Parts in grass have webbing/silk
  • Green/brown pellets present
  • The worm is present

Chinch Bugs:

  • Loves to munch on St. Augustine Grass
  • Piecing sucking mouth parts
  • Adult – ¼ inch long, black and white patches on the wings
  • Nymphs- 1/20 inch to adult sized, red with white ban on the back
  • Eggs- found on leaf blades or in sheaths. Average 300 eggs laid in a lifetime. Hatch time a week in a half.
  • Prefer warm sun and a dry environment
Damage :
  • Saliva causes yellowing and browning damage
  • Noticeable sized, part the grass in suspected area, they will be moving along the soil surface and blades of grass. Major infestations will be seen on sidewalks and buildings.


  • All Stages of life feed with piecing and sucking mouth parts.
  • Can be found near soil surface and within the thatch.
  • Like all turf varieties, but prefer to feed on centipede grass.
  • Present all over the state, most active in the fall
  • Adult – black with 2 orange stripes horizontal on back
  • ¼ inch long, oval shaped
  • Emerge June
  • Over winter as adult
  • Enjoys feeding on ornamentals as well.
  • Eggs – laid at the base of soil in the thatch, hallow stems.
  • Hatch in spring
  • Yellow or white in color
  • Molts done in 2 ½ months
  • 2 generations per year
  • Wilted, yellowing, curling, like chinch damage BUT appears in shady areas and likes humidity.

Posted: November 29, 2023

Tags: Commercial Horticulture, Horticulture, Pest, Turfgrass, Turfgrasses In Central Floridaa

Subscribe For More Great Content

IFAS Blogs Categories