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Key to Turf Insects

  1. Wings present (Fig. 20A to E) (2)
    Wingless (Fig. 20F to J) (27)


  2. Front pair of wings (the wings which lie on top when folded) partially or completely thickened, hard or leathery (Fig. 21A to C) (3)
    Front pair wings flexible and papery, sometimes clear (Fig. 21D to F) (11)


  3. Front pair of wings leathery, short (much of abdomen is visible from top); forceps on rear of abdomen (Fig. 22) (EARWIG)
    Front pair of wings covering most of abdomen or no forceps on rear of abdomen (4)


  4. Front pair of wings usually hard, thick, opaque and lacking veins (Fig. 23A); mouthparts chewing type (Fig. 23B,C)(beetles) (5)
    Front pair of wings usually leathery, with veins (Fig. 21F); mouthparts chewing type or extended into a tube (Fig. 23D) (12)


  5. Hard-shelled, brown to black beetle, 5 to 11 mm long, with an elongate snout (Fig. 24); often covered with soil particles (BILLBUG)
    Variable but lacking snout, 5 to 25 mm long (6)


  6. Antennae filiform (like a string of beads) (Fig. 25A); beetles crawl rapidly (7)
    Antennae lamelliform (ends in small plates which may form a club) (Fig. 25B), elbowed; beetles crawl with effort (8)



  7. Found crawling through turf rapidly; fly seldom; mostly black to brown (Fig. 26A) (GROUND BEETLES)
    Found crawling on paths through turf; fly rapidly when approached; brightly colored (Fig. 26B) (TIGER BEETLES)

  8. Small beetle (about 5 mm long); dark brown to black (Fig. 26C) (ATAENIUS SPRETULUS)
    Large beetle (15 to 25 mm long); color variable (9)



  9. Beetle, 15 to 22 mm long, with shiny green head, legs, and underside (10)
    Reddish-brown to black beetle 20 to 25 mm long (Fig. 27) (MAY BEETLE)


  10. Front wings brownish; white tufts on abdomen; 11 to 22 mm long (Fig. 28A) (JAPANESE BEETLE)
    Front wings velvety green; no white tufts on abdomen; 15 to 25 mm long (Fig. 28B) (GREEN JUNE BEETLE)



  11. Mouthparts extended into a tube or hair-like structure (Fig. 29A); wings covered with tiny scales which resemble dust when smudged on one's finger (moths) (Fig. 29B) (14)
    Mouthparts variable or lacking; wings without scales (20)



  12. Mouthparts chewing type (Fig. 30A); hind legs modified for jumping (Fig. 30B) or front legs modified for digging (Fig. 30C) (13)



    Mouthparts extended into a tube (Fig. 31A); legs not modified for jumping or digging; body length 4 mm or less; black body with white wings (Fig. 31B) (SOUTHERN CHINCH BUG)



  13. Hind legs modified for jumping; antennae short, seldom half the length of the body; female with short, blunt ovipositor (Fig. 32A,B) (GRASSHOPPER, SHORTTAILED CRICKET)
    Front legs shovel-like, modified for digging; brown, velvety body with beady eyes; burrows in soil (Fig. 32C) (MOLE CRICKET)


  14. Wingspan usually less than 38 mm; hind wings brown or yellow brown (15)
    Wingspan 38 mm or greater; hind wings whitish or lightly colored (16)

  15. Moth with a prominent snout-like projection (Fig. 33A); wingspan averages 15 mm; forewings brown or ash gray with white streak from base to margin (SOD WEBWORM MOTH)
    Moth without prominent snout-like projection (Fig. 33B); wingspan averages 25 to 38 mm; forewings yellowish or reddish-brown with yellow border and sometimes a row of dark brown spots (BURROWING SOD WEBWORM MOTH)



  16. Forewings basically a solid color (17)
    Forewings splotched or mottled with intricate designs (18)

  17. Forewings primarily fawn-colored or grayish-brown, each with a small, white spot near the center; wingspan about 38.5 mm (Fig. 34A) (ARMYWORM MOTH)
    Forewings primarily yellowish-brown; distinct black line on thorax; abdomen gray; wingspan 38 to 44.5 mm (Fig. 34B) (GRANULATE CUTWORM MOTH)



  18. Forewings basically yellowish-brown with pale mottled designs; wingspan 38 to 50 mm (Fig. 35) (VARIEGATED CUTWORM MOTH)
    Forewings primarily a mixture of black and gray or white (19)

  19. Long, dark narrow forewings pale near tips; 3 black lines on each forewing; wingspan 38.5 to 51 mm (Fig. 36A) (BLACK CUTWORM MOTH)
    Forewings dark gray, mottled with lighter and darker splotches; noticeable whitish spot near extreme tip; wingspan about 38.5 mm (Fig. 36B) (FALL ARMYWORM MOTH)



  20. Hard-bodied insect; abdomen constricted at point of attachment to thorax; hind wings with fewer veins and smaller than front wings; chewing mouthparts (bees, ants, wasps) (Fig. 37A,C) (21)
    Insect without constricted abdomen; one to two pairs of wings; mouthparts variable or lacking (24)

  21. First abdominal segment very narrow but bearing a hump or node; antennae elbowed, at least in females, with elongated first segment (Fig. 37A,B) (ANTS)
    First abdominal segment constricted but without hump or node (22)

  22. Insect fuzzy with many branched or feathery hairs all over its body (Fig. 37C) (WILD BEES)
    Insect not fuzzy though unbranched hairs may be present especially on the abdomen (wasps) (23)


  23. Wasp 25 to 38 mm long; generally black with three yellow bands around the abdomen (Fig. 38A) (CICADA KILLER WASP)
    Wasp about 13 mm long; wings dark blue; head, thorax, and first part of abdomen black; two yellow spots on the middle of the abdomen; tip of abdomen brown and hairy (Fig. 38B) (SCOLIID WASPS)



  24. Tiny, gnat-like insect, 1 to 8 mm long, with one pair of wings (Fig. 39A,B) (25)
    Two pairs of wings; hind wings smaller than front wings; sucking mouthparts (26)

  25. Tiny, waxy filaments trail from abdomen; mouthparts lacking (Fig. 39A) (MALE GROUND PEARL, MALE RHODESGRASS MEALYBUG)
    No tiny, waxy filaments on abdomen; mouthparts sponging type (Fig. 39B) (FRIT FLY)



  26. Insects averaging 7 mm long with an elongated triangular head; yellow, green, or gray; mottled or speckled (Fig. 40A) ( LEAFHOPPER)
    Black insect 6 to 10 mm long with two red or orange lines across wings (Fig. 40B) (TWOLINED SPITTLEBUG)



  27. Chewing mouthparts (29)
    Piercing-sucking mouthparts or other types of mouthparts (28)

  28. Maggot (1 to 4 mm long) with mouthhooks (FRIT FLY LARVA)
    Not a maggot; piercing-sucking mouthparts (33)

  29. Insect with three distinct body regions (head, thorax, abdomen, Fig. 41A) or without distinct regions (Fig. 41B) (30)
    Insect with 2 distinct body segments (thorax not strongly differentiated from abdomen, Fig. 41B,C) (37)


  30. First abdominal segment very constricted (Fig. 42A,B); insect nesting in turf but not feeding on it (31)
    First abdominal segment not constricted; insect feeding on turf above or below ground (32)

  31. Insect social; first abdominal segment with hump or node (Fig. 42A) (ANT)
    Insect solitary; first abdominal segment without a hump or node; stridulates when stepped on; often brightly colored (Fig. 42B) ( VELVET ANT)


  32. Insect with hind legs modified for jumping; feeding on blades of turf (Fig. 43A,B) (GRASSHOPPER, SHORTTAILED CRICKET)
    Insect hind legs not modified for jumping; forelegs modified for digging; feeding on roots of turf (Fig. 43C) (MOLE CRICKET)


  33. Pinkish or purplish, globular body with or without well-developed forelegs and claws; about 0.5 to 2.0 mm in diameter (Fig. 41B) (34)
    Body not globular (35)

  34. Insect with well-developed felt sac of matted, waxy white filaments (Fig. 44A) (RHODESGRASS MEALYBUG)
    Insect without felt sac, covered with hard, round shell (Fig. 44B) (FEMALE OR IMMATURE GROUND PEARL)



  35. Yellow, orange, or white insect with red eyes enveloped in a frothy spittle mass (Fig. 45A,B) (SPITTLEBUG NYMPH)
    No spittle mass (36)


  36. Body less than 4 mm long; abdomen black and pale yellow or white, head and thorax brown (Fig. 46A) (SOUTHERN CHINCH BUG NYMPH)
    Yellow, green, or gray body less than 7 mm long; triangular, sometimes elongated, head (Fig. 46B) (LEAFHOPPER NYMPH)



  37. Insect with three pairs of thoracic legs and five pairs of prolegs on abdomen (Fig. 47) (43)
    Insect with three pairs of thoracic legs or no thoracic legs and one or no prolegs on abdomen (38)


  38. Insect with three pairs of thoracic legs and one abdominal proleg (anal) (Fig. 48A,B) (39)
    Insect without even an anal proleg (40)

  39. Inhabiting vertical burrow; with hooks on top of fifth abdominal segment (Fig. 48A) (TIGER BEETLE LARVA)
    Crawling in thatch; no hooks on top of fifth abdominal segment (Fig. 48B) (GROUND BEETLE LARVA)


  40. Insect with forceps or pinchers at end of abdomen (Fig. 49) (EARWIG)
    Insect without forceps at end of abdomen (41)


  41. Insect with 3 pairs of thoracic legs (Fig. 50) (ATAENIUS SPRETULUS, GREEN JUNE BEETLE, JAPANESE BEETLE, MAY BEETLE GRUBS)
    Insect without legs (42)


  42. Feeding on turfgrass, head dark (Fig. 51) ( BILLBUG LARVA)
    In nest in turfgrass; head usually pale to medium brown (ANT, CICADA KILLER WASP, FLEA, VELVET ANT, WILD BEE, YELLOW JACKET LARVAE)


  43. Hairy, spotted caterpillar, 6 to 19 mm when fully grown, with a yellowish- to light brown body (Fig. 52) (SOD WEBWORMS)
    Caterpillar smooth or with only a few sparse hairs (44)


  44. Caterpillar basically one color (45)
    Caterpillar with multicolored strips or designs (46)

  45. Fat caterpillar light gray to nearly black; as long as 46 mm when mature (Fig. 53A) (BLACK CUTWORM)
    Caterpillar dirty white or light gray with brown head; only 20 to >0 mm long when fully grown (Fig. 53B) (BURROWING SOD WEBWORM)



  46. Dark brown to gray caterpillar with pale, longitudinal stripes and black, conical granules of various sizes; head brown; mature length 38.5 mm (Fig. 54A) (GRANULATE CUTWORM)
    Skin smooth or sparsely-haired but not granular (47)

  47. Smooth-skinned, pale gray or light brown caterpillar mottled with dark brown; first abdominal segment marked with a pair of yellow or orange dots; mature length 40 mm (Fig. 54B) (VARIEGATED CUTWORM)
    Caterpillar not as above; primarily striped (48)



  48. Green, brown, or black caterpillar with dark head capsule often marked with an inverted "Y;" longitudinal, black stripe on each side of body; yellowish-gray stripe down back; mature larva 35 to 50 mm; most common in late summer or autumn, two pairs of dark spots on each abdominal segment; body uniform diameter throughout (Fig. 55A) (FALL ARMYWORM)
    Pale green to yellowish- or brownish-green caterpillar; body widest at middle, tapering slightly toward each end; mature length 35 to 50 mm (Fig. 55B) (ARMYWORM)