Ground pearls are scale insects that suck fluids from the roots of bermudagrass, bahiagrass, St. Augustinegrass, and zoysiagrass, but prefer centipedegrass. They may be associated with acidic soil. They occur throughout Florida. Clusters of pinkish-white eggs, covered in a white waxy sac, are laid in the soil from March to June. Tiny crawlers or nymphs attach to roots and cover themselves with a hard, yellowish to purple, globular shell. These “pearls” range in size from a grain of sand to about 1/16 inch. They may occur as deep as 10 inches in the soil. The adult female is 1/16 inch long, pink in color, with well developed forelegs and claws. Adult males are rarely seen, tiny, gnatlike insects. Females emerge from cysts in the spring, move around a little, then dig several inches into the soil and secrete a waxy covering.
*Photo Credit – University of Florida