Today’s techniques to banish pests from your backyard are different from the methods our parents may have used. Environmentally-conscious homeowners may chose to avoid toxic chemicals as much as possible, opting instead to use the balance of nature to control or prevent obnoxious pests.
Managing your landscape in this way may include allowing beneficial insects to thrive while using a minimal level of weed and insect killing chemicals. This Florida-friendly approach to pest control starts with identifying the lawn-damaging insects and knowing how to manage these nuisance pests with regular inspections and routine treatments with environmentally-friendly pesticides .
Identifying the good vs. the bad
Florida is a natural home to many wildlife and insects that can spoil the pleasure of your backyard experience. The University of Florida’s Agricultural School gives good information on the control and prevention of nuisance wildlife common to Florida, such as snakes, armadillos, raccoons, skunks, and opossum. Removing any access to food or shelter for these animals will go a long way in keeping your property clear.
One way of identifying which insects are invading your landscape is by close examination of any damaged areas. Insects that thrive by chewing grass blades are turf insects. These include Southern Chinch Bug, Army worm, Sod Webworm, and Mole Crickets. These insects can destroy either root or blade and can turn a beautiful landscape into portions of bare soil.
After identifying the problem insects, the right non-toxic soap solution or horticultural oils can be a good option. Even if you choose to use a low-level insecticide, it is best to spot treat problem areas versus treating the entire lawn. Keep in mind that if the infestation is minimal, these same lawn-damaging insects provide food for beneficial insects.
With regular inspection, most pest infestations can be managed with good landscaping techniques that hinder further damage to your lawn. Take a walk through your yard every week to closely examine grass blades and the condition of the soil. Burrowing insects such as adult beetles will destroy the roots of your lawn system are identified by mounds of soil or raised ridges which indicate underground tunneling.
The best way to know what insects are destroying your lawn, it is best to obtain information about the pests that are common to your type of grass and your specific locale in Florida. Each pest has distinct symptoms of lawn damage that they will cause. In that manner, you can follow the proper treatment for the problem. Other ways to prevent pest and rodent infestation include:
- take inspection and spot treat insects when discovered
- eliminate any standing or dripping water
- seal entry points that may allow rodents to enter the home
- keep your lawn mowed and free of weeds
- store firewood away from the home on an elevated surface
- enlist the help of a pest control service for regular insect inspections
Responsible landscape care in Florida
Consider the safety of pets, family, and friends when treating your lawn for pest and rodents. It is best to enlist the services of a lawn care professional for the accurate identification of insects and engaging strategic, non-toxic solutions. An environmentally-friendly pesticide such as Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) is an option for some pests. This is a biological pesticide which produces a protein crystal that is toxic to insects. Bt is used by organic farmers and for mosquito spraying in urban areas.
With regular inspections, you will opportunity to hand remove insects when you find them. Another strategy is to prune affected areas of trees or bushes to prevent toxic infestations from spreading. Finally, discover the types of insects that are beneficial to lawns in Florida. Keep your lawn healthy with regular mowing, watering, and fertilizer when appropriate. When you consider grass care and insect control as a total lawn management project, your lawn will not only look healthier, but you will able to catch insect infestations before they get out of control.