Pests

PESTS/INSECT CONTROL 

Lawn Grubs 

Lawn grub season traditionally extends from October through to March, but varies slightly with seasonal conditions.
It is no coincidence that the season peaks (usually after Christmas) with the coming of our thunderstorms and increased humidity levels. For that is when the best growing conditions for our lawns are provided, with lots of new growth and fresh leaf for the grubs to feed on.
 The life cycle of the lawn grub can be as short as fourteen days (2 weeks) at the height of the season. This means that regular spraying is needed to control the grubs to prevent their numbers from increasing to plague proportions.
There are quite a few different varieties of grubs which attack lawns. All are laid by small moths which flutter through and across the lawn laying their eggs as they go. These eggs can hatch within days if climatic conditions are right. Alternately, they can also remain dormant in the lawn till the next season.
One easy way to check to see if you have grubs is to place a damp hessian bag or similar item on top of the lawn overnight. When the bag is lifted the next morning the grubs will be sitting on top of the leaf still actively feeding under the protection of the bag.
It is of the utmost importance to address the problem of grub infestation quickly, particularly if the lawn has been newly laid. For if the lawn is severely damaged before it has had a chance to establish a strong root system, large dead areas will occur!!!
There are many insecticides on the market to control lawn grub. All will work efficiently if used correctly as per the directions on the bottle. Best results will be obtained by using a pressurised spray tank, covering the lawn in a controlled even spray. For those who prefer, a nontoxic organic spray is now available. It is wise to remember that sprays will only last three days at best before u.v. rays destroy it. Also watering will dissipate the spray quickly.Granular products (Searles  Lawn Grub Killer Granules) are also effective and easy to apply.

The most common signs of infestation are: 

1. Egg sacs appearing on walls and eaves.
These are brown, velvety cases about 10-15 mms long and 5-7 mms wide. It is best to physically destroy these as soon as they appear.

2. Birds feeding on the lawn.

3. Patchy or discoloured areas of lawn.

This is caused by the grubs chewing off most of the leaf leaving the stalks and under storey of the plant exposed..

4. Red and blue wasps hovering over the lawn.
These wasps are looking for grubs and actually sting the grub and lay their eggs in the body of the grub. They will not, however, eradicate enough of the grubs to solve the problem. Rather, both the wasps and grubs tend to increase their numbers until the lawn is destroyed. The grubs will then "move camp" looking for new plants to feed on (including gardens).

If the problem has been discovered too late and the damage has already occurred :

1. Spray (or spread Granules) immediately and leave overnight.

2. Fertilize well with a good all round fertilizer.

3. Lightly top-dress

4. Water daily.
It is important to encourage the lawn to recover as quickly as possible, as once the cover of the grass has been lost, weeds will quickly move in and start to take over.
Obviously, it is far better not to allow the problem to develop at all, so keep a watchful eye and remember .... If in doubt - spray anyway

African Black Beetle

A major scarab pest of warm regions.

The adult beetle invades turf every spring. It is the larvae stage (a white curl grub) that can do damage to turf by feeding on the root system.  Although this is not normally noticeable in domestic lawns it can occasionally cause  patches to brown off and die during summer. Dead turf can often be lifted like a carpet as every root has been severed. Treatment involves using pesticides ( Chlorpyrifos,Baythroid,Merit,Oftanol) washed into the soil profile. Assist recovery of turf by raking out and removing dead material, fertilizing and light top dressing. Water frequently.