Small Holes Appear in Your Lawn Overnight? Here’s What to Do

It can be puzzling to wake up to find that small holes have appeared in your lawn overnight. You may have many questions running through your mind; what’s causing them? How can you get rid of the holes, and perhaps most importantly, how can I stop these holes from appearing again?

The answer to these questions depends on what has caused the small holes in your lawn. Small holes can be caused by insects, animals, and even children and aren’t good for your lawn’s health.

It’s a good idea to investigate to find the culprit before more damage is done to your lawn. Let’s look at the most common causes of holes in lawn overnight. We’ll also tell you what to do to rectify the problem.

The Causes of Small Holes in Lawn Overnight

Your grass never sleeps.  It uses the energy it got from day to grow at night.  Unfortunately, there are a lot of pests that don’t sleep at night either.

Small holes in your lawn that seem to have appeared from nowhere overnight are likely to be caused by a small animal or insect.

Many insects will make holes in your lawn as they transform from larva into adults and burrow to the surface of your yard. Animals often dig holes in your garden to look for insects or worms to eat. Here are some common reasons for small holes in your lawn overnight:


Beetles Cause Holes in Yard

One of the most common reasons that gardens wake up to find small holes in their lawn is due to Japanese beetles. These pesky insects lay their eggs in the soil, which later hatch into larva. These larvae are present in the ground during fall and winter, where they grow and mature.

During spring, the larva will start to turn into beetles and will dig to the surface. Often this process takes place overnight, and you’ll notice that holes appear in your lawn. The larva can also damage your lawn as they feed on grassroots.

Having an infestation of Japanese beetles is every gardener’s nightmare. The larva will attract other animals such as birds, raccoons, and even armadillos into your garden, looking for a quick snack. They will have to dig holes in your lawn to get to the larva.

You may need to use a pesticide to get rid of Japanese beetles and their larva, especially if they are present in large numbers and are damaging your grass.


Earthworms Cause Pinholes

Worms are another common reason for small holes in lawns overnight. Worms make tunnels through the soil, which may be obvious, especially if the ground is wet. Earthworms are vital to the health of your soil as they help to aerate the soil. They also mix nutrients and water through the soil. Worms are more active during the spring, and you may find that birds visit your garden to eat the worms.

Worms can also create bumps on your lawn which will give it an uneven appearance. It’s best not to worry about holes caused by worms as they are generally very small. Don’t try to eliminate earthworms as they are very beneficial to your soil and lawn’s health.


Scolid Wasps Hunt Grubs and Punch Holes

There are two types of wasp that cause holes in lawns. Scoliid wasps hunt for grubs in the soil by digging holes. Once they’ve located a grub, they will kill it and then lay their eggs on the grubs back. When the young wasps hatch, they will have a food source.

Cicada-Killer Wasps also make holes in lawns as they hunt for food. They dig holes that are about an inch wide and then drag their prey to the surface. These types of wasps are most common in lawns where the grass is short. Don’t cut your grass too short, or you’ll be more likely to have problems with Cicada-Killer Wasps.


Birds Dig Small Holes in Grass

Birds feed on worms, insects, and grubs that live in the soil. Larger birds can sometimes damage your lawn while they look for food. Birds are good for your yard as they help control insect populations and, in most cases, only make very small holes that shouldn’t be a problem.


Mole Holes

Moles live in large holes under the ground and tunnel to find insects, worms, and grubs to eat. The holes created by moles are generally large and have a mound of earth on top. Moles can seriously damage your lawn and can be tricky to get rid of. You may like to use mole traps to get rid of these animals. Alternatively, you can try using castor oil which will repel the creatures.


Mice Dig Up a Yard

Rodents such as rats and mice may make a hole in your lawn as they feast on insects. They may also eat plants such as grass, fruits, and vegetables, which can be a problem if you’re growing food in your yard. Rodents will also urinate on your lawn which can cause problems.

While one or two rodents are unlikely to harm your yard, an infestation will be a problem. It can be challenging to control rodents, so it’s best to consult a pest control specialist. You may also like to consider getting a cat to help keep the rodent population in check.

Squirrels and chipmunks

Chipmunks Forage and Dig

Squirrels and chipmunks often make holes in the ground to bury their food or hunt for prey. Squirrels are the worse culprits as they are more likely to dig a bigger hole that will affect your lawn. If you have a problem with squirrels or chipmunks in your yard, it’s best to consult a wildlife and pest expert.


Dogs often dig holes in their yard. Digging is often a destructive behavior that dogs do if they are bored or left alone for a long time. They also do it for fun or if they can smell something in the soil. Dogs can dog large hole which will need to be filled in with soil; you’ll also need to plant new grass to improve the look of your lawn.

Dogs can also leave spots from their nitrogen rich urine, which is why dog pee kills your grass.


Children Playing in Yard

Children sometimes dig holes for fun. Always supervise your children when they are playing in the yard. You can also teach them not to dig or provide a sandpit for digging.

Conclusion:  Small Holes Can Appear in Your Yard Overnight for Many Reasons

Holes in your lawn can be unsightly if no action is taken to fill them.  The grass around the holes may have a hard time surviving and can turn yellow.  Holes can even cause additional issues; they can become a breeding grounds for mosquitoes or create drainage problems. If any holes appear in your lawn overnight, it’s best to investigate the cause and take steps to sort out the problem.

Most holes can be filled and new grass seeds planted. Here’s how to overseed a yard.  You may also be able to take further action to prevent the problem from happening again, depending on the cause of the holes.

If you are looking to get your yard looking as good as it can, you may enjoy our guide to weeds that look like grass.  Eliminating them can really brighten your yard.  Good luck fixing the holes in your yard.