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Applying Insecticides to Lawns

Spray Insecticide on LawnWhen your formerly lush, green lawn displays signs of excessive insect damage, it’s time to consider applying lawn insecticides. Designed to eliminate lawn pests and control further infestation, insecticides for lawns applied properly can bring your turf back to health. Consider the following guidelines for applying insecticides to lawns.

Identify the lawn pest

In order to effectively combat an insect harming your turf, it’s important that you first accurately identify the culprit. A wide variety of insecticides exist, each designed to destroy and control certain insects.

If you use the incorrect lawn insecticide, you will not eliminate the insect pest or stop the damage.

Common insect pests that require insecticides for lawns

A wide variety of insects can affect your lawn, so it’s important to make a diagnosis before treatment. Here are three common pests:

  • Grubs — In the larval state, these “C”-shaped creatures with six legs damage grass roots. In the adult stage, they are beetles that fly around the yard. Heavy infestations of grubs in the lawn cause the affected grass to become spongy, and the lack of roots makes it possible to roll back the grass as if it is a piece of carpeting. The grass will exhibit dead and dying sections where the feeding is heaviest. You may also see crows, moles or skunks feeding on the grubs.
  • Chinch bugs — They may be only 1/6 of an inch long, but chinch bugs do a lot of damage. They are common in dry, sunny areas of the lawn, where they suck liquids from the grass and inject toxins that cause the grass to loosen from the soil. They are most prevalent in red fescues, bentgrass, Kentucky bluegrass and perennial ryegrass.
  • Mole crickets — Several species of mole crickets exist. These insect pests have “hands” they use for digging and tunneling through the soil, severing grass roots from the grass and causing bulges in the ground. They do the most damage from late summer into fall. They work at night and are hunted by raccoons, which will dig up the lawn looking for them. You can also see if you have these pests by pouring soapy water on your lawn, which will make them come to the surface.

When to apply insecticides to lawns

Mole Cricket in GardenWhen to treat your lawn with insecticide depends on the type of pest. Once you’ve determined the troublemaker, you can consult the appropriate insecticide, which will indicate when to treat. Some insects are better treated in the adult stage, while others require that you apply lawn insecticides when they are in the larval stage.

How to apply insecticides to lawns

Keep in mind that insecticides are poisons, so it’s important to carefully follow the insecticide label and package instructions. Wear eye protection and waterproof rubber gloves when mixing and spraying lawn insecticides.

Apply the insecticide in the early morning or late afternoon with a sprayer during still weather. Avoid over-spraying into unaffected locations, such as garden beds. Store the product well away from children and animals.


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