Ground Pearl, Scale
Pearls or pests?
They might look like tiny styrofoam pearls in your lawn, but what they really are may surprise you. Ground pearls are actually a subterranean scale insect that feeds on the roots of your St. Augustine grass!
They attach themselves to the roots at the base of the grass stolons, then secrete a waxlike substance that creates a protective shell around their body. It's this shell that makes them appear like a small pearl or styrofoam ball. The immature scale insect then proceeds to suck the life out of your grass while it grows larger through the season.
They can be difficult to diagnose because they're often buried in the top several inches of the soil. Your grass may start declining in certain areas, but the cause won't be obvious. Damage is often most evident during dry periods in spring and summer, but can continue through fall in our climate.
Look for irregular patches of unhealthy looking, drying grass. It may take several years of treatment to effectively erradicate these pests from your lawn.