What Kind of Pest is Killing Your Grass?

Person spraying grass with pesticide.

Last Updated July 22, 2023

Having a lush, green lawn is a source of pride for most home and business owners, but even the most well-tended landscape is susceptible to damage from a variety of lawn pests. The key to successfully treating the problem and restoring health and vitality to your property is proper identification, using our lineup of common flying, crawling, and burrowing insects and creatures.

How to Identify Lawn Pests

Grass with signs of lawn pests

The following warning signs are an indication that you may have unwanted pests either on top of your lawn or below the ground:

  • Chewed blades of grass
  • Wilting grass
  • Dead or dying patches of grass
  • Brown spots
  • Holes in the ground
  • Insect sightings
  • And more

Common Lawn Pests Include:



There are many, different species of grubs or beetle larvae that vary slightly in color and size, but most are C-shaped and measure approximately one inch or less. These unsightly creatures can be found in the soil, where they feast on the roots of lawn grasses while attracting other unwanted pests such as moles, crows, armadillos, and skunks.

Symptoms: Brown spongy patches and lawn die-off.

Treatment: Soak infested areas with commercial grub killer.



Armyworms are black, brown, green, or yellow in color, and are approximately one-and-a-half inches in length with horizontal stripes. They feed on grass above the ground and tend to travel in large groups, preferring cooler evening temperatures.

Symptoms: Brown patches that may resemble drought.

Treatment: Professional pest control is recommended.

Fiery Skippers

Fiery skipper

This caterpillar has a black head and a green body and lays its eggs on the underside of grass blades and leaves.

Symptons: Brown patches in your lawn approximately two inches in length; if an infestation occurs these patches may form an irregular shape of any size.

Treatment: Commercial caterpillar treatment may be applied.



These crane fly larvae get their name from their smooth appearance and grayish-brown coloring. They are approximately one-and-a-half inches in length with no distinguishable head or legs, and they feast on roots and blades of grass.

Symptoms: Oddly shaped patches of dead grass.

Treatment: Professional pest control is recommended.

Chinch Bugs

Chinch Bug

These bugs are only one-quarter of an inch long, and are black and white in color with white-gray wings that are decorated with a dark triangular patch. They strip the moisture from grass blades by first sucking out the fluid and then depositing an anticoagulant that prevents further water absorption.

Symptoms: Patches of lawn turn from purple/red to yellow, and then brown once completely dry.

Treatment: Diatomaceous earth

Burrowing or Digging Mammals

gopher hole

Chipmunks, gophers, moles, groundhogs, and other burrowing mammals can cause damage to your lawn as they make their home or hunt for food.

Symptoms: Tunneling, mounds of earth, holes.

Treatment: Professional pest control may be required to properly identify the animals and determine a viable solution.

Lawn Pest Prevention Tips

Fertilizer equipment on grass for pest control

No landscape is completely pest-free, and many species are extremely beneficial to plant life and the environment. You can however, reduce or eliminate the presence of those which may cause damage to your lawn or garden with these tips:

    • Eliminate standing water which can be a breeding ground for bugs.
    • Keep garbage cans tightly covered.
    • Keep your lawn mowed to the recommended maximum height.
    • Maintain your lawn with seasonal aeration and fertilization.
    • Water the grass regularly and more often as the weather heats up. Routinely inspect your property for signs of damage.

Contact The Grounds Guys for Lawn and Pest Control

Trust the experienced professionals at The Grounds Guys for efficient, reliable residential and commercial pest control services.

Request an estimate with the local The Grounds Guys franchise near you for help with professional landscaping, lawn maintenance and several other services designed to make your yard the best it can be!