In a similar fashion to our blog regarding the importance of identifying the weeds troubling your landscape, you need to be able to identify insects within your landscape. Your property possesses a small ecosystem, and your plants are a big part of it. These plants are often habited by, and affected by many various species of insects, and in bad situations, pests. Your lawn can be affected in the exact same way. Knowing how to identify these insects, which can oftentimes be pests, is vital to maintaining the health of your landscape. This is especially important when there are so many varieties and many that are harmless, or even beneficial to your landscape. With pollinators and insects that consume pests, it is important that you know what you are to get rid of, and what you should not.
As with any flora or fauna, insects are categorized using both common, and scientific names. As we mentioned in our guide on weed identification, distinguishing between the Latin scientific name, and the common name you will use on a daily basis like “grasshopper” is important. It is much easier to refer to these insects by their common name, however when going through the identification process, you will need to use the scientific names to ensure that you have the exact right insect.
While you may just want to identify the insects on your property for fun, let us assume that your purpose is to figure out why some type of decay or death is occurring either within your lawn, or to your plant material. Once you have ruled out disease, and you know you are taking care of your lawn and plants properly, it is time to hit the books.
First, you want to observe the insect within your garden or landscape, and if possible, take a picture. Check to see the quantity of the insect, if it is singular, or if there are many in the area. The more insects there are engaging in damaging behavior, the more likely it is that you have an infestation.
After you have this basic information marked down, you will want to utilize an insect taxonomy. You will be able to find many online, and many university extension offices have online resources for this exact issue.
Like we said before, not all insects present in your garden or landscape are causing harm. In fact, many types of insects are “predators”, consuming the bad insects for you. Other good bugs pollinate and produce. When it comes to your lawn, the obvious signs are brown spots, chewed blades of grass, or general wilting. On your plants, small but noticeable bites are usually a bad sign.
In Kentucky, you will find that some of the most common insect pests are White Grubs, which inhabit your soil, killing your roots. Chinch Bugs are another issue, causing irregular patches of yellowed, deadening grass. Other bad insects that once identified, should be dealt with, include: Armyworms, Japanese Beetles, Mole Crickets, and Billbugs. Many of these pests love Kentucky Bluegrass, so watch out.
Once you have identified an insect harmful to your greenery, you should come into Nature’s Mulch, and let us know your problem. Using insecticides improperly can be harmful to your lawn, and we carry a wide variety at Nature’s Mulch.