Wireworm damage is often confined to certain areas of crops, but they can cause significant damage to crops and lawns. They prefer grass as host plants and cause the most damage to corn and potatoes. The larvae live in the soil and they damage plants by eating the stems and boring into the plants.

The larvae develop into click beetles when reaching maturity. Wireworms are less than an inch long and yellowish brown in color with three pairs of short legs. Without proper eradication, wireworms can cause significant crop damage.

Appearance of Damage: yellowing, wilting, root scarring, and in many cases the damaged plants will die

Active: March – August

Japanese Beetle

Japanese beetle damage can usually be pretty easy to identify because the beetles are often times caught in the act. They can cause skeletonized leaves and total defoliation. Japanese beetles are rarely found west of the Mississippi River, but to the east they can be found in great numbers.

The beetles have metallic-green bodies with copper-colored wing covers. Some plants that are affected by the Japanese beetle are linden, crabapple, apple, Japanese maple, rose, pin oak, birch, and cherry.

Appearance of Damage: yellowing, wilting, thinning of the stand; in severe cases, the turf can be rolled back like a rug

Active: All year except June – August

European Chafer / Grub

The European chafer originated in Europe and made its way to the United States in the 1940’s. In Michigan, the European chafer is common through most of the Lower Peninsula. European chafer adults are ½ inch long and also referred to as June bugs or June beetles. These larvae can cause serious damage to lawns and are considered one of the most serious grub pests for lawns.

It feeds late into the fall and again early in the spring. They feed heavily on grass roots, causing the most damage in drought conditions. Grubs can cause serious harm to your lawn so you want to make sure that the right treatment is applied in order to get rid of the insects.

Appearance of Damage: Yellowing, wilting, thinning of turf; in severe cases, the turf can be rolled back like a rug

Active: All year except June – Mid August


The armyworm is native to North America and can be found east of the Rocky Mountains. The name armyworm comes from the way that the larvae move across fields in an army-like fashion. Armyworms feed primarily on grasses and some vegetables. They are usually a dark greenish-brown color, but can also be black with long white, orange, and dark brown stripes along the abdomen.

Armyworms can be found mostly in grass pastures, along roadsides, and along fence rows. The damage caused by armyworms can closely resemble damage caused by many other insects and animals, so be sure to contact an expert when damage occurs.

Appearance of Damage: 1″-2″ dead spots that resemble ball marks on closely cut turf, with a pencil sized hole in the middle

Active: All year except April – Mid June

Bluegrass Billbug

The bluegrass billbug is a weevil that can cause widespread damage to lawns in Michigan. Damage may not be detected until the first signs of harm in July. High infestations of billbugs can resemble the damage caused by grubs. Adult billbugs are dull grayish to black in color and ¼ to ½ inch long.

The adult bugs cause damage by feeding on grass blades and stems, but the most harm comes from larvae feeding inside of the stem or on the roots.Frequently watering your lawn during the summer months can decrease the chance of damage.

Appearance of Damage: Yellow to brown spots in the turf often resembling dollar spot. Grass crowns are easily pulled from the soil, and a light brown, sawdust like material can be observed in the root/crown area

Active: All year

Chinch Bug

Chinch bugs are 3/16 inch long, have black bodies and white wings with triangular black patch-like markings. Damage from chinch bugs can resemble drought conditions in lawns, but the damage does not recover after rain. To help determine a chinch bug problem, get up close to the dead grass and part it to see if there are any black bugs on the surface.

The bugs attack all grass species and non-irrigated turf is more likely to attract them. The saliva from the chinch bugs causes a burn-like reaction in the grass plants.

Appearance of Damage: badly infested plants turn yellow then brown during the hot dry months

Active: All year except May – June – Sept – Oct


Cutworms are night-flying moth larvae from several different species of moths. The name cutworm comes from the way the larvae cut down young plants as they feed on stems at or below the soil surface. The adult form, night-flying moths, do not cause any damage to grass and plants. Cutworms attack many different plants and vegetables such as asparagus, bean, cabbage, carrots, celery, corn, lettuce, pea, pepper, potato, and tomato. Some species of cutworms also feed on turfgrass.

Cutworms have varying species with varying colors and patterns. Most damage occurs on vegetable seedlings early on in the season when plants are smaller. Certain climbing species of cutworms can climb stems and eat leaves, buds, and fruit. Check gardens in the late afternoon and evenings when cutworms are more active. You can also look at plants in the morning to see if there is any fresh damage.

Appearance of Damage: 1″-2″ dead spots that resemble ball marks on closely cut turf, with a pencil sized hole in the middle

Active: April – Mid June

Sod Webworm

There are many different species of sod webworms, also called lawn moths, which often infest home lawns. Some species of sod webworms are the silver-striped sod webworm, the bluegrass sod webworm, the larger sod webworm, and the burrowing sod webworm. During periods of drought, damage to lawns is the worst. Sod webworm adults have wingspans up to an inch wide and are usually whitish to tan-brown in color.

The worst damage is caused in July and August when lawns get less water. Sod webworms can be detected by observing the turf for silken tunnels or also by using soapy water to draw the webworms to the surface. Contact a professional for help identifying sod webworm damage and figuring out a treatment option.

Appearance of Damage: damage appears as dead spots 3-10 inches in diameter and tunnels constructed of silk with soil and grass clippings attached

Active: May – July – August – October


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