Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Caution: Increased insect activity this summer

In a letter dated August 4th to our current customers:

We’ve had a rainy summer which has increased soil moisture, providing a more desirable habitat for lawn insects. We are seeing signs that there may be more damage to lawns this summer than we have seen in years past from these little invaders.

Larger than normal adult Japanese Beetle populations have been noted by Ohio State University Extension service in multiple areas of the state. The large adult populations may result in a large new white grub population. One major factor contributing to the success of the grub is current soil moisture conditions. Soil moisture levels are high which will make it easier for the female Japanese Beetles to find suitable locations to deposit their eggs which will hatch into the larvae or white grub.

We have also seen increased incidence of sod webworm and are beginning to see evidence of chinch bug in some lawns, particularly those lawns that have a history of chinch bug activity.

How are insects controlled?
Traditionally we wait and monitor sites to evaluate pest populations and potential for damage before determining if a curative insecticide application is warranted. The benefit to this approach is that we do not simply apply insecticides on a broad basis – we only apply where and when necessary. Often this results in some lawn damage that needs to be repaired as the presence of insects is not known until symptoms of damaged turf begin to appear.

Preventative applications can be made and are generally scheduled earlier in the summer on those lawns that have a history of insect problems and where the homeowner’s threshold for damaged turf is low. In these cases the homeowner has determined that the risk of damage has a bigger impact and is less desirable than applying a preventative insecticide application.

What should you do now?
We need your help to be on the look out for areas of your lawn that are in the process of turning brown or that have turned brown already. Alert us to these conditions so we may investigate further to determine the cause – as not all brown areas are the result of insect damage.

Option 1: Watch and wait to see if insect damage appears and then evaluate the need for an insecticide application based on insect population and potential damage of the lawn. The benefit to this approach is that in hindsight an application may not be necessary, lowering cost and reducing the use of pesticides. However, the wait and see approach may result in increased turf damage requiring more expensive lawn renovation work to correct the problem.

Option 2: Contact Lawn Lad today to discuss the appropriate course of action and if a preventative application is warranted for your lawn. We do not make blanket recommendations for pesticide use – so if you are concerned and want to be proactive – please contact us to discuss your options so that the potential for damage is minimized.

More information about Integrated Pest Management.


Brian said...

Are pesticide applications and Integrated Pest Management one and the same?

Doug Freer said...

Pesticides are used to control pests. For example, weeds are controlled with herbicides, or insects with insecticides.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a management strategy that is used with the goal of minimizing the use of pesticides. Pesticides may be necessary when pest populations exceed an acceptable threshold and may cause significant enough damage that an application is warranted to prevent further damage.

Thresholds are in part based on what the owner of the property is willing to accept. On a high maintenance property like a golf course the threshold is very low, whereas in a residential environment where minor damage is not as notiable, pesticides may not be used quite as quickly when pests are identified.