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Officials warn of grass-killing virus spread in Palm Beach County that makes leaf blades look like ‘mosaic painting’

Cutting Grass Getty Images from Kyle
Low image of someone cutting lawn.

(PALM BEACH COUNTY, FLA) — Experts warn that Lethal Viral Necrosis (LVN), a grass-killing virus, is spreading at record-breaking rates throughout Palm Beach County, according to WPTV.

The virus was first originally verified in St. Petersburg, but has spread throughout southeastern Florida, eventually becoming verified in Palm Beach County November 2o14 by a laboratory analysis.

“It looks like chinch bugs are on it,” Forest Lakes resident Joel Raine told WPTV, who opted to call in pest control.

Alex O’Hara, president of O’Hara Pest Control Incorporated, told the news station he’s received countless calls from homeowners across Palm Beach County, concerned from the possibility of ‘bugs or fungus’ destroying their lawns.

“It looks more like you poured fuel all over the lawn,” O’Hara said, describing the infection as appearing like a “mosaic painting.”

According to a PBC FAQ, LVN spreads when ‘infected lawns are mowed, the equipment picks up fresh plant sap on tires, and then the same equipment is used to mow other lawns before sap or clippings completely dry out.’

The virus reportedly cannot survive outside of plant tissue for extended periods of time, and that mowing when lawns are wet or damp should be avoided, as it ‘lengthens the time that punctured plant tissue with sap containing the virus remains hydrated on equipment.’

Currently there is no treatment for LVN, and the only way to cure an infected lawn is to replace it with sod that is ‘resistant to the virus’ like BitterBlue St. Augustine or CitraBlue sod.