Ground Pearls

Ground Pearls in North Florida Lawns  



Ground pearls are scale insects that live in the soil. Their description is why they are named ground pearls and they really do look like little tiny yellowish – purple pearls that can range in size from 1/8 inch to as small as a grain of sand. 



Ground Pearls suck juices from plant roots causing grass to turn yellow and then brown. 

Feeding Habits: 

  Ground Pearls tend to be found on Centipede sod but can become a pest on other warm season turf grasses including Bahia and St. Augustine.  

Reproduction and Life Cycle: 

Eggs are laid on the soil in April and May in North Florida that hatch into tiny crawlers that are able to move to find a spot to feed.they then attatch themselves to the grass roots and begin secreting a hard yellow brown scaly covering which completely covers the body of the insect.The female adults that emerge from those pearls are a pinkish color and the adult males are rarely seen but look similar to a tiny gnat. The life cycle from egg to adult can take as much as 2 years to complete.      



Properly watered and maintained lawns may never show damage by these insects even though infestation is heavy. 


Insecticide treatment effects are not great enough to warrant their use due to the nature of the pest as well as ease of cultural management.      


A Word of Caution with Chemicals from Me to You:

     Perhaps it is my many years of dealing with the people in the Agriculture industry who have lived long lives and encountered many troubles with chemicals during their careers, but I cannot talk about chemical control without at least my mentioning the following concerns. 

 Make sure to read all directions carefully and apply liquid sprays diluted with water at the application rate recommended on the product label for the pest you are targeting and do not mix stronger than suggested target treatment rates. 

      Remember that insecticides are POISONS and approach their use with caution, wear protective eye gear and chemical resistant gloves and rubber boots as well as long sleeved shirts and pants. Remember to wash these items separately from other laundry immediately after application and shower after getting the clothes into the laundry. 

Lastly but most importantly, pay particular attention to lock unused chemicals up away from visiting children and pets.  

So that’s it on the speech about chemicals, I hope I have been able to help you know what’s wrong and how to treat it so now you have to help me sleep easier by indulging me with these motherly concerns, fair trade don’t you think?  I’ll sleep easier knowing that you did.