Lawn pests?

mommaof5kiddosJune 16, 2014

We live in a very rural area and have quite a large lawn. Lately, despite frequent watering, several places look like they are drying up and dying. While doing yard work I ha e noticed very large amounts of ants all over the lawn (seriously a whole lot of them in practically every area of the lawn). My question is this. Could large amounts of ants affect the root system of our lawn thereby causing it to look dried out. And if so, how do I get rid of the little buggers? We have small children and outside pets and need something safe. Thanks

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Where in the United States are you?
Very large ant nests can cause problems in turf grasses, but what to do to control them depends on the ant and some species are not everywhere. For example, telling someone how to control Fire Ants if they do not live where they are is not very productive.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 7:12AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

That your lawn is drying out in spots can be a symptom of a few things. We need to know where you are located, as kimmsr mentioned.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 7:22AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

are you new to rural living???

my lawn .. if it could be called such.. browns out about now.. and stays brown.. until the night temps start cooling in sept ...

one simply does not water 5 acres ... and after my first year out here.. i found out.. how nice it was.. not to have to mow every week ...

but that is not to say ... i COULD [EDIT] water the fenced yard.. around the playscape.. and have a nice lawn ... when the kids needed such ...

it seems apparent to me.. you dont have mean ants... or you would be wailing that they are biting the kids ... thank God for that .. eh???

one thing for sure.. you arent going to eradicate ants ....the best you can do.. is dissuade them from certain areas ... who's in charge anyway ...

if you want a great play area.. i suggest.. you hire a professional ... for a certain area ... you will have some nice grass ... and be weed and ant free ... it would NOT bother me.. what they used ... i would follow all precautions.. i would be much happier to have them playing outside ....


ps: if there are trees... some of them dont play nice with grass .. they out compete them for the water provided ... we really dont have enough facts to go very far here ... its the shallow rooted trees like maple, willow.. etc .... and then there would be the issue of the soil .. i have sand.. no amount of water will keep grass green in the heat of summer with such under some trees ...

This post was edited by ken_adrian on Mon, Jun 16, 14 at 12:50

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 10:26AM
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Sorry, I live in a rural area of SE Idaho. The ants are not mean, I just noticed large amounts of them all over while doing yard work. We have lived here 3 years and haven't had a problem till this year

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 1:40PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Momma, some possibilities of those declining patches might include sod webworm larvae, cranefly larvae (leatherjackets), billbugs, nematodes, and grubs of one kind or another. There may be other issues in your area, too.

I suggest that you contact your local extension office to ask for advice on the ants and the lawn situation. There may be something going on in your locale that is trending at this point in time.

A turf specialist would be able to examine the site, the soil, and do some searching for pests or diseases. There are methods and safe products to help with lawn problems, but you need to find out what the problem is, first.

Your UIdaho local branch is the place for you to begin your search.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 2:42PM
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This link may help you find your counties office of the UIdaho Cooperative Extension Service.

Here is a link that might be useful: UIdaho CES

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 6:58AM
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idahomeboy(5a - 4600 ft. SE ID)

I don't know if you ever found a definitive answer to your question but based on your description it sounds like your lawn may be suffering from a billbug infestation. I've noticed lawns all over SE Idaho that are severely infested this year, mine included. a sure way to find out is to dig around in the infected areas, only an inch or two deep and see if you find lots of little white legless grubs with reddish brown heads feeding on the roots and stems. My lawn has been damaged by them in years past but this year is far worse than any other year, I suppose the conditions have been ideal for their development this year. I'm still looking for a good solution to the problem so if anyone has some good ideas please let me know. So far I'm leaning toward chemical treatment.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 11:45AM
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There may be Billbug, a Weevil, larva but most all people that know about them will tell you that insecticides are not very effective larva controls. Beneficial nematodes are the most commonly recommended controls, if that is what you have, as well as natural predators.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 7:26AM
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