These Are The Pests Destroying Your South Dakota Lawn

When you notice thinning grass, brown patches, or other damage to your lawn, you might think that extra watering and fertilizer will help it bounce back. While these are important parts of a lawn maintenance routine, the damage could actually be caused by hard-to-spot insects. Today, we’ll show you the three biggest surface insects we deal with here in South Dakota.

Top Bugs That Ruin Rapid City Lawns

Sod Webworms

Interestingly, these pests are not worms at all but actually winged insects. You might also see them referred to as “lawn moths” since they look like tiny tan moths. The adults are about 1/2 to 3/4 inches in length. They have a long nose-like projection and wings. It’s their larvae that give these insects their name. The larvae of sod webworms look like brownish-gray caterpillars, about an inch long. They spend winters sheltering from the cold by created web-lined tunnels of silk in the thatch layer of your turfgrass. The larvae dine on the leaves and stems of turfgrass at night when they don’t have to worry about birds. In the morning, they hide in the silky tunnels again.

Signs Of Sod Webworm Damage

The biggest sign of sod webworm damage is brown patches that look like your grass has been scalped. In landscaping terms, scalping is when you intentionally mow the lawn as low as you can so you can reseed it. This isn’t a common practice, so if you see a patch of grass that looks like someone set the mower to the lowest setting, it’s probably sod webworms. If you don’t fix the problem quickly, the spots will get larger. Sod webworms are active from the start of spring until fall, so if you don’t fix the problem quickly, it will only worsen. Fortunately, these bugs are one of the things we treat at Warne Chemical. We’ll make sure to assess for sod webworms and other bugs as part of our lawn service program.


You probably know about grubs and how destructive they are. Another grub-like insect that often gets mistaken for white grubs is billbugs. They cause circular to irregularly shaped patches of dead grass, and they’re most active in July and August. Adult billbugs are grayish or black beetles, between ¼ to ½ inch long, with a snout or bill. Billbug larvae are white and legless, about 5/8-inch long, and look like more rotund grubs. It’s those larvae that damage your grass. They do this by eating the inside of the stems, the crowns, or even the roots.

Signs Of Billbug Damage

The damage caused by billbugs will often occur near sidewalks and curbs. When they damage the roots of your turfgrass, you might be able to peel back the turf and look for the weevils under the surface. You should be able to spot the larvae when you do this. You can also find the adult beetles present in the surrounding area.


Grubs are probably the most notorious lawn pest. Like the other lawn pests we’ve discussed today, it’s the larvae that cause the most damage to your turfgrass. Grubs are the white c-shaped larvae of Japanese beetles. Like billbugs, they live beneath the surface of your lawn and eat the roots of your grass. As mentioned above, they sometimes get mistaken for billbugs and vice versa. However, grubs are skinnier than billbug larvae, and their damage can appear anywhere on the lawn without concentrating on a particular area.

Signs Of Grub Damage

There are several key things to look for that indicate you’ve got grubs on your lawn. The most obvious is the thin or bare patches with brownish dying grass. Many times, homeowners will assume they need to water their lawn more or put down fertilizer. However, if you’ve tried both things and your lawn isn’t responding, it could actually be grub activity. As discussed previously, they eat the roots of your grass, which means, if you have grubs, you might be able to peel back the grass as if it was a fresh sod roll that hasn’t been established in your lawn. Without a robust root system to hold the grass in place, it will come right up. You may also notice a change in the texture of your grass. Grub-infested lawns will feel spongy when you walk on them as if you were walking on a rubber mat or a running track. You may also notice your lawn is uneven where it was previously level. The uneven areas could also show up as puddling water after rain, where previously you didn’t have pooling water. Lastly, the presence of grubs in your lawn may cause many animals to flock to your yard. Birds, possums, skunks, and raccoons will dig up your yard in search of grubs, which for them are a tasty meal. This leaves your yard looking like a war zone, and the damage can be extensive. If you suspect you’ve got grubs, don’t hesitate to call in the help of our pest control services. The sooner we can treat your yard, the faster it will bounce back.

Find Pest Control Services Near Rapid City

Don’t let billbugs, sod webworms, and grubs ruin the health and appearance of your lawn. The experts at Warne Chemical & Equipment Company have over 150 years of combined experience eradicating such pests.

We service the following cities:

Contact us today:

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.