Tips on Controlling Pests in your Lawn
If pests are creating problems on your lawn, it’s best to try non-chemical measures first. If that doesn’t work, you may need to rely on some type of pesticide.
Begin by identifying the pests, as one insecticide won’t kill all pests. One way to accomplish this is to pour a bucket of soapy water over the affected area. Most pests will crawl to the surface of the soil.
Once you’ve identified the pests, you can apply the most appropriate pesticide. Read the label carefully, as it will specify what insects can be controlled with that particular product.
Before you Begin: Considerations
- Before you reach for chemicals, consider a natural pesticide. For instance, Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), is a safe, soil-dwelling bacteria that works well against lawn caterpillars, sod webworms and cutworms. Microscope nematodes will help control grubs. Insecticidal soap kills sod webworms, chinch bugs, and grubs.
- If you opt for chemicals, lawn insects are controlled with sprays or granules, and there are pros and cons with each. Granules are generally ready to apply with a fertilizer spreader, and they tend to be safer because there is no drift.
- Sprays, on the other hand, must be mixed with water. If you use a spray, be sure to mix only what you need as the solution begins to break down quickly when water is added.
Using Pesticides on Your Lawn Safely and Effectively
- Many homeowners find it more effective to spray the entire lawn, rather than spot-treating. This prevents re-application if pests migrate to untreated areas.
- Apply pesticides according to label directions; it is against the law to use the products in any manner other than what is specified.
- Remember that when it comes to pesticides, more isn’t better. Too much is unhealthy for the environment and can harm your lawn.
- Wear a hat, long-sleeved shirt, long pants or coveralls, socks, closed-toe shoes, and neoprene or rubber gloves when mixing and applying pesticides, and when cleaning equipment.
- Apply pesticides on a calm, wind-free day when temperatures are between 15 and 26 C.
- Don’t water after spraying pesticides, or if rain is predicted.
- Keep kids and pets off the lawn after spraying. Refer to the label for specifics, but most recommend waiting at least 48 hours. Water the chemicals in well before letting kids and pets play on the lawn.