Ground Pearls in the Summer
It may not be one of the largest insects in the world, but it’s also not the tiniest, however, the ground pearl is one major pest. It’s a close relative of the aphid, only the ground pearl lives its entire life in the soil feeding on the roots of plants. When they get into grass, especially Centipedegrass, St. Augustinegrass or Zoysiagrass they can be very devastating. They feed during the summer so the dead patches in the lawn will get larger during the summer if the grass is under any kind of stress.
There are no chemicals labeled for the control of ground pearls. Some people will dig out the soil in the infected area down about 6 inches and replace it with new soil. However, maintaining the lawn with proper fertilizer, irrigation, and mowing practices can help to reduce the infestation. It also helps to make sure the soil has the proper pH for the type of grass that is growing in the area.
Step one is to take a soil sample, and send it off to be tested. Currently a soil test is free with only the cost of mailing the sample to the soil test lab in Raleigh.