Pests that are not insects,
diseases, or weeds are included in the catch-all category of "Other
Pests" on TurfFiles. This category currently includes clover mites, crayfish,
earthworms, millipedes, moles, nematodes, and voles.
Clover mites are in the Phylum
Arthropoda, as are insects, but they have eight legs, rather than the six which
are a defining characteristic for insects. Adult mites are smaller than the
head of a pin, but can be seen with the naked eye. They live and feed in grass
and clover. They may invade homes and may cause feeding spots on turfgrasses,
but rarely do enough damage to turf to justify treatment.
Crayfish, closely related to
lobsters, are mostly aquatic, but a few terrestrial species exist. They may create
mounds of soil which can be annoying. Since they play an important role in
aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, control measures are usually not
Earthworms belong to the phylum
Annelida, and are usually considered to be beneficial in a lawn, since they
help with aeration, water penetration, and thatch control. They rarely cause a
problem, but extremely high populations may cause root disruption. They serve
as a food source for moles.
Millipedes are in the Phylum
Arthropoda, as are insects, but millipedes have many more legs than the six
allotted to insects. Millipedes are attracted to dark, cool, moist environments
that are rich in organic matter such as compost piles, heavily mulched shrub or
flower beds, rotting logs, or the soil under logs and stones. They may
occasionally damage soft-stemmed garden plants.
Moles are small mammals of the
Insectivora Order. They eat insects, grubs, and worms. They eat 70% - 100% of
their body weight each day. Moles are active all year long. They live in
underground burrows and rarely come to the surface. An individual mole may
tunnel as much as 40 - 50 feet a day. Before initiating a control program for
moles, be sure that they are truly out of place. Moles play an important role
in the management of soil and of grubs that destroy lawns.
Nematodes are microscopic, worm-like organisms that feed
on the roots of all plants, including turfgrasses. They are usually grouped
with turfgrass diseases because of their microscopic size, and because turf
symptoms are similar in some respects to those caused by fungal diseases. The
above-ground symptoms of nematode feeding are slow growth, thinning of the
turf, poor response to adequate fertilization and irrigation, rapid wilting
during dry weather, and weed invasion. These symptoms typically appear in
irregular patterns across the turf stand, not in distinct circular patches.
Voles, which are often confused
with moles, are rodents. Unlike moles, voles eat a wide variety of plants, most
frequently grasses and forbs. Like the mole, voles are active day and night,
year-round. The most easily identifiable sign of voles is an extensive surface
runway system with numerous burrow openings. Voles may cause extensive damage
to lawns, golf courses, and ground cover.
© North Carolina State University. This information sheet was prepared
by Rick Brandenburg, Lane P. Tredway, Michael Waldvogel, S. Bambara, and Gail
G. Wilkerson. Departments of Entomology, Plant Pathology and Crop Science,
College of Agriculture & Life Sciences, North Carolina State University.
Prepared October 11, 2007. Available on-line at
www.turffiles.ncsu.edu. This publication was made possible through a grant
provided by the Center for Turfgrass Environmental Research & Education
(CENTERE) whose purpose is to support worthwhile projects that will benefit
both the private sector and the public, and protect the environment.