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How to Manage Pests

The UC Guide to Healthy Lawns

Distinguishing features of common lawn insects

Black turfgrass ataenius White grubs (Masked chafers)
Black turfgrass ataenius larva
Pair of abdominal pads on black turfgrass ataenius
White grub
Abdominal bristles on white grub
Black turfgrass ataenius larvae are very small, 1/4 inch (0.6 cm) long, with 3 pairs of legs. A pattern of scattered bristles on the last abdominal segment with a pair of pads on the tip of the abdomen distinguish this pest from other insect pests in turf. White grubs are white with dark brown head capsules. They are about 1 inch (2.5 cm) long, much larger than ataenius or billbug larvae. A characteristic pattern of bristles on the underside of the posterior end of the abdomen distinguish it from other species.
Billbugs Cutworms and armyworms Fiery skipper Sod webworms
Billbug larva
Black cutworm larva
Fiery skipper larva
Sod webworms
Billbug larvae are very small, 3/8 inch (0.9 cm) long, with creamy white bodies and dark heads. The absence of legs distinguishes billbug larvae from other turf pests. Cutworms and armyworms are large, up to 2 inches (5 cm) long, and curl up when disturbed. Their size and behavior help to distinguish them from other turfgrass pests. Fiery skipper larvae are up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) long with distinct reddish markings on the front of an oversized black head. Larvae have a narrowed neck followed by a characteristic dark thoracic shield. Sod webworms are 3/4 inch (1.9 cm) long. A double row of brown or black spots down the back at the base of long bristles helps to distinguish sod webworms from other pests.

Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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