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Old 11-18-2019, 06:18 PM   #1
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Grass bugs: What are these and how can I get rid of them?


So there are these little black bugs with a white tail all over the Blue Carex grass in my back yard. I just noticed it today, not sure how long it's been going on. There is A LOT of them, all over the long grass. Not sure if it's hurting the grass yet, doesn't seem to be. I'd like to get rid of them.

What is it?

I'm in Los Angeles. I'll post a photo here, hopefully it's clear enough, if not I'll take better shots.

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Old 11-18-2019, 07:02 PM   #2
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Re: Grass bugs: What are these and how can I get rid of them?


Did a couple of searches and nothing close. I'll be itching all night after looking at all of those bugs.

If no one can ID them send a picture to your local agriculture dept, maybe part of one of the universities and they will know for sure.

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Old 11-18-2019, 09:29 PM   #3
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Cinch bugs

Not always so cinchy to get rid of

What’s your grass? Saint Augustine?
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Old 11-19-2019, 11:08 AM   #4
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Re: Grass bugs: What are these and how can I get rid of them?


Chinch bugs were the first thing I came across in my search, but I wasn't sure if they looked like that, with the white tail. And this isn't a lawn, it's Blue Carex.

Another search showed something called hey-black grass bug, or just black grass bugs. Looks closer but not exactly.

So if you're sure it's Chinch, what is the process to get rid of them? I'll look it up of course, but if you have experience with this I'd love to hear your insight.

And yes Bud, I've been itching all day since noticing them!
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Old 11-19-2019, 11:34 AM   #5
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Re: Grass bugs: What are these and how can I get rid of them?


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Chinch bugs were the first thing I came across in my search, but I wasn't sure if they looked like that, with the white tail. And this isn't a lawn, it's Blue Carex.

Another search showed something called hey-black grass bug, or just black grass bugs. Looks closer but not exactly.

So if you're sure it's Chinch, what is the process to get rid of them? I'll look it up of course, but if you have experience with this I'd love to hear your insight.

And yes Bud, I've been itching all day since noticing them!
Thanks for your response!

Could you take a more distant picture of your lawn? Chinch bugs cause dead patches of grass and they're usually a big problem in the Midwest and east when it gets hot and dry, which it has been in LA lately, how well we both know.

Years ago I managed a garden shop, and St. Augustine grass was pretty bad for bug damage of all kinds, which it made up for largely by being a crazed steroidal, prone-to-overgrowth monster.

The bug in your picture looks like it might be a chinch bug nymph, i.e., "subadult."

Here's a link to Ortho with pictures of the bug and the damage they cause.

https://www.ortho.com/en-us/library/...nt-chinch-bugs

"Blue carex" appears to be a sedge, which is a grass-like plant.

Is this it?

http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.o...taxonid=366919

Hmm. The "grass bug" appears more interested in biting people than plants. Is this it?

http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/cgi/vi...tension_curall
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Old 11-19-2019, 01:55 PM   #6
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Re: Grass bugs: What are these and how can I get rid of them?


Thanks for the response Dave!

Well it's not a lawn, here is a photo of the grass:



So the type of damage is hard to determine, definitely not like lawn damage from a cinch. Also, these have a distinct white tail unlike photos in a google search. Can they be different depending on the area? I'm in LA.

I tried to take some photos through a loupe to get more detail:







Interesting that your link for this type of grass says "No significant insect or disease problems". Maybe it's possible these are a part of some other issue and not specific to the grass? It's just that there are so many of them.
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Old 11-19-2019, 02:15 PM   #7
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Re: Grass bugs: What are these and how can I get rid of them?


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Thanks for the response Dave!

Well it's not a lawn, here is a photo of the grass:



So the type of damage is hard to determine, definitely not like lawn damage from a cinch. Also, these have a distinct white tail unlike photos in a google search. Can they be different depending on the area? I'm in LA.

I tried to take some photos through a loupe to get more detail:







Interesting that your link for this type of grass says "No significant insect or disease problems". Maybe it's possible these are a part of some other issue and not specific to the grass? It's just that there are so many of them.
Hmm. Interesting. Those pictures on high-mag don't look like Chinch bugs. On the other hand, it does look like they're after your plants, and causing them harm.

This might be a task for someone at U.C.Riverside or UCLA, in the entomology dept.
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Old 11-19-2019, 04:02 PM   #8
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Re: Grass bugs: What are these and how can I get rid of them?


They could be imported, accidentally. They might be after something on the plant rather than the plant. The county's Ag dept could probably tell you. California doesn't like strange bugs.

When I had fire ants, they sent out experts to see if they were the imported fire ants.

I've never seen these bugs & I grew up in OC & LAC & spent 30 yrs there.

Could they have come with the plants that originate in North Africa? I doubt California would allow importation of the native plants, but you never know what people do. . .
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Old 11-19-2019, 04:23 PM   #9
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Re: Grass bugs: What are these and how can I get rid of them?


California Food and Agriculture, Exotic Pest Hotline
1-800-491-1899.

https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/plant/reportapest/

They have a form online to report a pest and send a photo.

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Old 11-19-2019, 10:18 PM   #10
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Re: Grass bugs: What are these and how can I get rid of them?


Interesting. Well, the grass was planted by a landscaper almost a year ago. So I don't know where they came from. Or if they came with the plants, but I never noticed them before.

I'll have to contact CDFA if I can't identify them. I'm going to also contact the landscaper and see if they have any insight.

Thanks for the contact.
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Old 11-21-2019, 09:08 AM   #11
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Re: Grass bugs: What are these and how can I get rid of them?


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Originally Posted by RVC1 View Post
Interesting. Well, the grass was planted by a landscaper almost a year ago. So I don't know where they came from. Or if they came with the plants, but I never noticed them before.

I'll have to contact CDFA if I can't identify them. I'm going to also contact the landscaper and see if they have any insight.

Thanks for the contact.
Bless your mindful approach!

I have a feeling we're on a wild-goose chase ID-wise here. Insects are far and away the most varied life-forms on the planet and getting a positive ID is sometimes very hard. But, it's still useful in large part because knowing what a bug is can help determine if it's a problem or not. Fleas and mosquitoes for example, bite people and animals and can spread disease. Fruit flies don't. Many people mistake harmless critters for dangerous ones, or vice versa.

So do try to find out what they are, and tell us, or at least list the possibilities. That will go into our collective database on this site, as it were, and help someone else. I'm unfamiliar with the plant you have but it looks cool, and I have a lot of friends who still ask me for help on gardening. It will be nice to know if, in fact, the bugs you have are a problem on them.

At the risk of getting a bit windy; kind of a public service announcement . . .

As something of a lifelong bug geek I've found that people often get hysterical about insects and insect-like creatures. They want to just kill kill kill all they see, just so they feel safe, even if the bugs are no threat or the spraying doesn't help.

Back in my garden shop managing days, we had a guy in Diamond Bar who'd regularly buy GALLONS of straight diazinon (a now banned bug killer) and spray it undiluted around his house to kill ants. He was perfectly rational and sane, at least on the surface. I wanted to slap that dolt, but it would have been an assault . . . . .

That's why I'm resisting the temptation to tell you just go out and spray some liquid Sevin on your plants and be done with it. A lot of advisors say to do that.

Oomph. Down off soapbox.

This is a link for diazinon. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diazinon
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Old 11-22-2019, 01:59 AM   #12
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Re: Grass bugs: What are these and how can I get rid of them?


Your "grass" looks like Liriope or what's commonly called Monkey Grass.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liriope_(plant)

Sorry, I don't know what kind of bugs you have, though. I did a quick search for Liriope pests but didn't see anything that looked like that. I also searched common CA insects but still no joy. Perhaps you might use similar searches and see something I didn't. But contacting CDFA will probably be your best bet.
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Old 11-23-2019, 10:26 PM   #13
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Re: Grass bugs: What are these and how can I get rid of them?


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Originally Posted by RVC1 View Post
Interesting. Well, the grass was planted by a landscaper almost a year ago. So I don't know where they came from. Or if they came with the plants, but I never noticed them before.

I'll have to contact CDFA if I can't identify them. I'm going to also contact the landscaper and see if they have any insight.

Thanks for the contact.
Okay.

Are the bugs hurting you? Your pets, kids, etc., if any? Or the plants?

Maybe not worry.

But think
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Unread Yesterday, 07:39 AM   #14
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Re: Grass bugs: What are these and how can I get rid of them?


Get some chickens to eat those up.
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Unread Yesterday, 10:14 PM   #15
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Re: Grass bugs: What are these and how can I get rid of them?


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Get some chickens to eat those up.
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