Are you wondering What are the flying bugs on your lawn?
Here is how to Identify and Get Rid of Small Flying Insects on the Lawn.
Insects have been around for millions of years. They were here before humans and mammals. They were even around before the first dinosaur walked the Earth.
This also means that they have had all the time they need to carve out a niche for themselves in just about every environment, including your lawn.
Now a swarm of common mosquitos flying around can certainly ruin a summer cookout. Yet there are also a lot of other insects that can be far more damaging to your health as well as the health of your lawn.
At the same time, there are beneficial insects like dragonflies and lab bugs that can help control common lawn pests. It can be hard to tell friends from foe sometimes.
Table of Contents
- 1 Identify Flying Bugs In your Lawn
- 1.1 1. The Danger And Annoyance Of The Common Mosquito
- 1.2 2. Lawn Gnats
- 1.3 3. Damaging And Potentially Painful Ant Problems
- 1.4 4. Aphids Feeding On Grass And Other Plants
- 1.5 5. Asian Beetles
- 1.6 6. Boxelder Bugs
- 1.7 7. Burrowing Billbugs
- 1.8 8. Chiggers
- 1.9 9. Cutworms
- 1.10 10. Earwigs
- 1.11 11. Fleas
- 1.12 12. Leafhoppers
- 1.13 13. Mole Crickets
- 1.14 14. Lawn Moths
- 1.15 15. Wasps and Hornets
- 1.16 16. Honeybees
- 1.17 17. The Preying Mantis
- 1.18 18. Lacewings
Identify Flying Bugs In your Lawn
The following is a primer on some of the more common flying insects you can find in your lawn, and tips on how to manage them.
1. The Danger And Annoyance Of The Common Mosquito
Mosquitos have established their presence nearly everywhere in the world, except for Iceland. They do best in warm, wet conditions, as they need standing water to lay their eggs and reproduce.
However, it takes very little water to harbor mosquito eggs. Even the moisture surrounding your compost bin can.
On their best days, mosquitos are an annoyance that can take the joy out of a day spent outdoors.
Yet mosquitos can also harbor dangerous pathogens. In North America alone mosquitos have been known to transmit:
- West Nile Virus
- La Crosse Encephalitis
- Jamestown Canyon Virus
- Western Equine Encephalitis
- Eastern Equine Encephalitis
- St. Louis Encephalitis
Each year the concern grows that mosquito-borne Zika virus could spread.
While mosquitos won’t directly affect your lawn, they also aren’t the sort of thing you want to progress unchecked.
Emptying out any standing water, and keeping your lawn cut short can reduce the moisture mosquitos need to propagate your lawn.
There are also topical mosquito repellents that you can apply to any exposed skin.
Mosquito granules and pesticide sprays can be used to create a border that dissuades them from invading further into your lawn when you are outside.
2. Lawn Gnats
These pesky little insects can invade your lawn. Left unchecked they could even start to damage to roots of grass and other landscaping plants.
Keeping your lawn cut short, allowing the turf and planting beds to thoroughly dry out can help disrupt their reproduction cycle.
They are attracted to the scent of vinegar. If you are looking for a non-pesticide form of gnat control, you can build traps out of vinegar mixed with some simple dish soap.
The gnats will be attracted to the odor yet become trapped in the soapy solution.
3. Damaging And Potentially Painful Ant Problems
Yes, common ants don’t fly. However, there are breeds that do have wings and individuals in a colony who are capable of flight.
Ant problems typically start with the damage caused as their colony grows in your lawn’s soil. As time goes on the colony can spread and damage a major area of turf.
Some ant breeds will swarm, bite, and can cause significant harm. Especially when a colony is disturbed.
Ant can also start to invade your home looking for food. Once they find a source, such as a dirty counter or exposed garbage can, the rest of the colony is soon to follow.
Keeping your home, especially your kitchen neat and tidy, will go a long way toward keeping ants outdoors where they belong.
A minor ant problem in your lawn might be managed by using taro traps, or other organic pesticides.
If you have a major problem, or you are trying to deal with dangerous carpenter or fire ants, you should strongly consider calling a professional exterminator.
4. Aphids Feeding On Grass And Other Plants
Aphids are tiny little insets that have a nasty habit of infesting the stems and underside of leaves on a lot of popular garden plants.
Left to their own devices they can cause a lot of damage. In some cases, they can even alter the appearance of your landscaping and kill certain leafy plants.
A minor aphid infestation can be dealt with by dusting them with flour. Neem oil is also a generally effective, organic solution to an aphid problem.
5. Asian Beetles
Asian beetles look like beneficial ladybugs. Unfortunately, they have the ability to damage your lawn and garden as well as proving to be a major nuisance.
Many people will use a dedicated shop vac to suck up Asian beetles when they invade their home. There are also glue traps that do best when they are hung in a dark place.
6. Boxelder Bugs
Boxelder bugs draw their name from the boxelder trees that they prefer to inhabit.
However, they are drawn to just about any type of wood, including things like exterior trim and loose sections of siding on your home.
If a small number manage to invade your home, you can try controlling them with a dedicated shop vac.
Just make sure it is sealed tight and that you dispose of any bags in a reasonable amount of time. Boxelder bugs tend to be escape artists.
In the case of a severe infestation, you may need to seek professional intervention. Extermination specialists in your area might have targeted control measures.
7. Burrowing Billbugs
Billbugs are a type of weevil that is known to burrow into the stems of a plant and damaging leaves. They are especially damaging to Zoysia grass.
There are organic and conventional spray pesticides you can use to help kill and control Billbugs
Chiggers can invade lawns especially when they are left long or overly wet. As a type of mite, they are nearly imperceptible to the human eye. Read more about mites and how to rid get rid of mites.
When they feed on our skin, it leaves behind a welt that itches intensely, and sometimes for days.
Keeping your lawn mowed short will go a long way toward discouraging chiggers from establishing a presence in your lawn.
If you are aware of an active chigger problem they are spray pesticides available in hardware stores and garden centers that are specifically formulated to address chiggers.
Cutworms are moth caterpillars that can infest your lawn and vegetable garden causing immense damage in a short amount of time.
In the lawn, they are particularly attracted to Bentgrass, Bermudagrass, and ryegrass.
You can handpick cutworms, but it’s nearly impossible to get them all.
Sprinkling diatomaceous earth around plants and in affected areas will help kill them before they can progress into the later stages of their life cycle.
Earwigs look worse than they really are. However, they can be a nuisance in your lawn. They also tend to be attracted to piles of lawn clippings.
You can find earwig traps in most hardware stores and garden centers.
When it comes to your lawn, fleas are relatively harmless. However, they can hitch a ride into your house on the fur of your pets.
If your pet has fleas, you and your house will inevitably have fleas. Once you have addressed the indoor flea problem, you should spray a pesticide that is formulated for fleas.
Keeping cedar mulch in the yard and around the house will also discourage fleas from establishing a presence in the future.
Leafhoppers are technically nymphs. They have the ability to slowly drain the sap from grass and leaves.
Left unchecked they can cause major damage to your lawn and garden. Sticky side traps and sprays can help reduce the leafhopper population.
13. Mole Crickets
Mole crickets are another one of those lawn pests that look worse than they really are. At least when it comes to human beings.
When they infest your lawn mole crickets will start to feed on grass, and other organic material.
Once they establish a presence mole crickets can be very hard to eliminate. Hardware stores will sell specific granules, sprays, and traps to help kill mole crickets.
14. Lawn Moths
Common moths like the webworm moth don’t have a major impact on the health of your lawn and garden. However, their caterpillars can be very devastating.
Moths tend to harbor near water sources during the day, moving toward human light sources at night.
They are attracted to many common plants, especially members of the brassica or cabbage family.
There are certain flowers you can use to organically control moths. So-called “Moon Flowers” bloom at night and are very attractive to moths.
Placing them between the nearest water source and your lawn or garden will help keep the moths away from more cherished plants.
At the same time, you can plant French marigolds like Tashkent in gardens and planting beds. The aroma of this particular flower is very unappealing to moths.
Reducing light sources near gardens and other sensitive areas will reduce the number of moths that are attracted to your property.
Bats are also very effective moth hunters. Placing so-called “Bat Boxes” at the fringes of your property might also help keep the moth population at a minimum.
15. Wasps and Hornets
Hornets and wasps can become more than a nuisance in large numbers. Wasp nests, in particular, can surprise you, as they can be built under the lip of a garbage can, under lawn furniture, or on the eaves of your home.
Accidentally disturbing it can lead to serious pain!
Hornets tend to build a long-term nest that looks a little bit like a beehive. As time goes on the nest can spread making it increasingly hard to deal with.
Trying to physically handle the hornet or wasp nest can quickly turn into a painful life lesson. While there are some people who will advocate moving the nest at night, I have seen this go horribly wrong!
In my extensive experience dealing with these painful and vengeful pests, it’s best to use a pesticide spray.
Ideally, look for one that boasts being able to produce a concentrated spray at a great distance.
Honeybees and bumblebees are very beneficial for a wide range of garden plants and even agricultural crops.
Unfortunately, invasive Asian mites and the widespread use of neonicotinoids have devastated the North American bee population.
The cartoon vignette of a honeybee hive hanging from a tree branch in the forest isn’t always the case.
Sometimes bees can form hives in very inconvenient locations. This includes exterior surfaces of your home, and garage. There are even bees who make hives in the ground.
If you have noticed a beehive on your property, it’s best to call a professional exterminator. Preferably one who specializes in hive relocation.
17. The Preying Mantis
Mantids are the ultimate assassin insects. You can actually buy egg cases online for relatively cheap. You simply keep them in a warm place, in something like an old aquarium.
They hatch in two to six weeks. At that point you put them outside, to let them do what they do best.
With a little bit of luck, they will stick to your property throughout the summer killing and eating insects as they see fit.
Just keep in mind that they don’t specifically target any one type of pest. Mantids attack all insects including beneficial insects.
They will continue to grow larger throughout the summer taking on bigger and bigger pests.
While they might look freaky, they do not attack human beings. In northern climes preying, mantis cannot survive the winter, and you will need to purchase new egg cases next spring.
In growing zone 6b and warmer, they might lay egg cases that will survive the winter and hatch the next spring.
Lacewings are tiny winged insects that have a voracious appetite. Just like mantids, you can purchase egg cases online and hatch them out yourself.
The adults and the larvae can eat other small insects, as well as their eggs.
From his childhood obsession with gardening to the decade he spent operating a hobby farm, Eric has developed over four decades of experience in self-sufficiency. Not only does this include the organic elements of growing and tending plants, but it also includes a wealth of experience in lawn care, landscaping, and gardening equipment.