What pests are lurking in the soil of your lawn or garden? One easy way to find out is to conduct a drench test.
A drench test is simply pouring soapy water over an area and waiting to see what comes up. Most insects don’t handle soapy water very well, so they will come up, out of the relative safety of the underground world, when their home turf is saturated with the stuff.
The most common soil dwelling creatures that you will see are ants, earwigs, sowbugs, worms, and grubs. Most often, these grubs are pests. Common underground pests include armyworms, cutworms, fiery skipper larvae, sod webworms, and southern chinch bugs.
How to conduct a drench test
Soapy water probably isn’t very good for beneficial soil microbes, so this isn’t something you want to do all over, but it is an excellent test for measuring the presence of soil pests. Follow these steps to see what might be nibbling your plants’ roots:
Once you have an accurate idea of what sort of pests are present, you can make informed decisions about controlling those pests. [There's no sense treating for a pest you don't have, right?]
Let us know the results of your drench test in the Comments!
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