With the growth and beauty of springtime also comes the reemergence of pesky bugs. Find out what you can do to protect your lawn and garden this spring
Spring is a beautiful time of year. The weather turns warmer, thoughts of summertime creep in. Along with that, cleansing rains appear, bringing growth back to Tennessee.
All the new growth also means the bugs that call middle Tennessee home return. While bugs are a necessary part of the circle of life, that doesn’t stop them from being pesky. They can be annoying and even damaging to your yard.
This article from the experts at Turf Managers will dive into the primary springtime bugs in middle Tennessee. What damage these bugs can do to your lawn, flowers, trees and garden, and how you can get rid of them.
Let’s get into it.
The Primary Types of Bugs in Springtime
Aphids are often called “plant lice,” as they are soft-bodied insects that feed on plant sap. They suck out the lifeblood of plants through leaves, stems and roots. They consume plant life in large groups and prefer new spring growth.
You will notice damaged leaves in the form of yellow discoloration as well as a sticky substance they leave behind. This stickiness is a sign they have been feeding on plant sap. Aphids may severely weaken small plants, like many that you will find in your garden. To treat aphids, wash them off with a powerful spray or treat them with a pesticide. Another more natural way to treat aphid infestation is with ladybugs. Both adult ladybugs and their larvae eat aphids, so having some around will help.
Lots of rain is great for plants, trees and flowers in the spring, and Tennessee has had some recent wet summers. However, all that life-giving moisture means more pests to eat the new, abundant growth. Such is the case with the Japanese beetle.
Japanese beetles prefer to lay their eggs in organic, moist soil. A wet springtime means more leaves to feast on and plenty of ground to lay eggs on. Japanese beetles tend to eat the following types of trees most:
- Crepe Myrtle
In addition to trees, these pesky beetles love to eat rose bushes. They also lay eggs that turn into larvae that feed on turf roots, eating away at your lawn. Then, when they become adult beetles, they start eating everything in sight.
Once the Japanese beetle gets into your garden, more insects are sure to follow. Insects attract more insects, and soon, you will have an infestation.
If you find Japanese beetles on your plants or trees, you can simply shake them off into a bucket of soapy water. They are sluggish and can’t swim so the soap coats them and they quickly drown. To find the larvae, look for discolored or wilted grass. The larvae are the more significant problem between the two. Consider using a pesticide that you can inject into the ground where the larvae are. After injecting the pesticide you can then spray the rest of the yard.
The experts at Turf Managers have been professionally installing plants, trees, shrubs, lawns and gardens in the Nashville area for 25 years. We help you rid your lawn and garden from bugs and pests, of course. We can also help you design and install your lawn and garden to keep insects to a minimum year-round. Click the link below to book our services.
The 17-Year Cicadas
While the cicadas came back in 2021 and should now be gone, the next brood is coming in 2024. With the reemergence of cicadas comes the giant, scary bugs called cicada killers. Cicada killers are scary but harmless insects that look like giant wasps. In turn the cicada killers invite a host of red velvet ants, which prey on cicada killers. Cicadas bring a whole lifecycle of new insects.
Cicadas tend to hide high up in trees, making them difficult to exterminate. However, they will eventually go away on their own. These pests may look big and gnarly, but they are harmless to people.
They are harmful to your trees, though, especially new trees. They make tiny slits in your tree’s twigs, causing the leaves to turn brown, which then break and fall off.
To combat cicadas and protect your new trees, cover them with cheesecloth until the insects are gone. When cicadas leave, they decompose into the soil. This provides valuable nutrients to the surrounding area. If you have way too many cicadas, the best tactic is physical combat, swatting them in any way you can.
Leaf miners are tiny, black flies that lay larvae that cause the most damage to trees, shrubs and plants. The damage will appear as squiggly, yellow lines on leaves or as spots or blotches. The lines or spots are where the leaf miners have bored their way into the leaf’s interior, hence their name.
Their “mine” holes where they start eating can weaken the leaves and cause damage. This can lead to eventual decay. The best way to get rid of leaf miners is to handpick the infected leaves off or spray them with an insecticide.
This type of mite got its name because it has eight legs and that they create webs on plants. However, it is incredibly tiny — 1/64 of an inch. You can’t even see them without magnification. You will be able to see the white spots or speckled appearances they leave behind. Spider mites can also turn your plant’s leaves brown or yellow, eventually causing them to fall off.
Additionally, they will stunt the growth of your plants. This is very destructive in springtime when plants need development to survive. There is a home remedy for treating spider mites that consists of soap and alcohol sprayed on the leaves after they have been cleared of the pests.
Bagworms get their name from the sack they create on plants using silk and plant material. The adult bagworm turns into a moth in the fall, and the females lay thousands of tiny eggs in the sack. When they hatch, the young ones feed voraciously until they are fully grown — which can be up to an inch long.
You can hand-pick them off your plants and trees or cut the bags off before they hatch. However, suppose you have a large plant completely infested with bagworms. In that case, you’ll have to contact a professional. They will apply a contact control solution while they are newly hatched and feeding. You will then need to implement preventative measures. This can be as easy as keeping an eye out for new bags. You may also need to spray a pesticide to prevent further infestations.
While mosquitos won’t do a lot of damage to your plants, trees, and garden, they will become a nuisance. The spring and summer are when you want to enjoy your beautifully landscaped backyard. The wet spring weather brings ripe breeding grounds for mosquitoes and their larvae. It’s almost impossible to be rid of mosquitoes. Still, you can take certain precautions to keep them under control:
- Avoid having standing water around your backyard
- Keep your grass trimmed as mosquitoes like cool, shady spots such as underneath long grass
- Citronella plants and other herbs such as basil, peppermint and lavender help repel mosquitoes
- Fans can keep mosquitoes from landing by dispersing the carbon dioxide that attracts them to humans
- Citronella candles will also help
- Spray your backyard with a mosquito repellent
Mosquitos and other pests can be a nuisance during the spring growing season. They can damage your plants for the rest of the year. However, with some diligence and mindfulness of your lawn and garden, you should be able to spot Tennessee’s pesky spring bugs and get rid of them quickly.
You can trust the experts at Turf Managers to take care of any bugs your new yard might encounter. In addition to supplying and planting the best flowers, trees and shrubs for your yard, Turf Managers also offer Skeeter Defeater spray for mosquitos and other pests. Give us a call today to book our spring and summer bug-control services.