What critter is in my lawn? #362058 - Ask Extension


What critter is in my lawn? #362058

Asked September 12, 2016, 5:31 PM EDT

 I have asked about this before and was told to look for skunks digging in the lawn.  I  put out  a trail cam and  never saw anything but the cats.  I have a large lawn, ( 1.2 acres) and one small area of grass right in front of the house. This  small lawnis the only place I have an issue and in 30 years living here the first time I have had this problem.  The lawn  is in a heavy clay soil at 6200 feet in Collbran Colorado. ( western slope)   There are piles of dirt about 1.5 - 2 inches in diameter and 3/4 in deep that are hard packed and difficult to pull off of the ground.  Initially I did not find a hole under these piles, but after looking at them when they were softer, there is a hole.  I was able to follow one down about 4 inches. This hole is 1/4- 1/2 in in diameter and is hard to find unless the dirt on top will  stay together when I remove it.   It is hard to walk on the lawn with out stepping on one or more of these anytime your foot touches the ground.   I have seen what I thought were very small moles in the irrigation ditches about 200 feet from my house, but always in the ditch after  the water was out.  If this thing is feeding on the grass above  ground, It is not apparent, perhaps buried under the pile.  Any help you can give me will be appreciated.

Mesa County Colorado

Expert Response

With the diameter of the hole being 1/2 inch or less and the size of the mound of dirt it sounds to me like worms or nightcrawlers are causing the problem in your lawn.  This may sound wrong, but I have seen this in other places.  If the lawn is over wet this can cause an increase of worm or nightcrawler activity near the surface  The nightcrawlers were so numerous that the lawn was sprayed with Sevin insecticide.  This killed the nightcrawlers.  After spraying the lawn was wet well and a round compactor went over the lawn knocking down the mounds of dirt.  Several years later the problem had not come back.  Carbendazim may move worms deeper into the soil to feed.  If they stay deep they don't create the problems on the surface.  There are a number of insecticides that can control worms.  Look at the label at your local home supply or hardware store.

Good Luck,


Marvin Reynolds Replied September 12, 2016, 6:27 PM EDT
 I guess I will work on that assumption for a while.  Makes more sense than anything else so far.  Thanks

The Question Asker Replied September 12, 2016, 9:54 PM EDT
The only other thing I can think of would be cicada's emerging but that would be a short term event and not every year.  Though I still think worms more likely.  Do an internet search for "worms in grass lawn" and look at some of the pictures.

Good Luck,


Marvin Reynolds Replied September 13, 2016, 10:03 AM EDT

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