Posts Tagged ‘lawn insect damage’

White Grubs in your NH or VT lawn

White grub damage on a lawn

I was just finishing up some yard work today and noticed some rather large, creamy color, C shaped grubs worms in a few sunny locations.  Given the current grub size, they are most difficult to control without some aggressive attention.  You have a few choices in May to knock back a grub infestation in your lawn.  Dylox is one of a few materials that will address grubs in a large state with generally satisfactory results.  There are only a few organic options worth reviewing like concentrated cedar oils, and capsaicin extract blended with other oils.  In either case, a repeat treatment can often be necessary given the mode of action, time of year, and size of the grub itself.  Trying to use standard Grub-X will not work because the active ingredient is designed for small grubs, not big boys like you see in May in NH or VT.

Another option is not to treat at all and wait until summer to apply a preventative treatment which not only means the ability to use less aggressive products, but in lesser amounts with incredible control percentages approaching 95-99% in total effectiveness.  Preventative products are usually required in fewer amounts, are much more effective, and are more environmentally friendly as a result.  Grubs and other insects are vulnerable in a smaller state or size.  Therefore, it only makes sense that less product and/or active ingredient is required when being proactive versus reactive.

For anyone experiencing grub infestations, look for annual grub control in the June-September time frame for maximum results.  The cost of not addressing grub issues in your lawn can mean expensive renovations, especially if you have an open, sunny lawn or a prior history of grub problems.  Rose chafers, European chafers, and Japanese beetles all pose a serious threat to your lawn and garden as well as your tree and ornamental shrubs.

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Milky Spore Lore & White Grubs in your lawn

According to a 2008 University of New Hampshire publication on Milky Spore disease, there are more reasons NOT to use this product than to use it in your home lawn.  Milky spore has been around for decades and was the first biological control means for Japanese beetle grubs.  Milky Spore comes in a powder and consists of a bacteria.  The first reason not to use milky spore was the design, it was manufactured to control ONLY Japanese beetle grubs- unfortunately there are many more!  Other turf damaging grubs in NH & VT include Asiatic beetles, European and masked chafers, June and May beetles and armyworms.  So now you understand that even if milky spore could work, you would be controlling one grub out of many, not good odds.

The second major issue not to use milky spore is you must have Japanese beetles in your lawn in sufficient numbers to promote the bacterial population enough to expand and spread out in the soil.  Therefore, if you do not have a large japanese beetle population, one where you would likely see damage- why bother?  The third reason not to use milky spore in NH and VT is the fact that soil temperature must be between 60 and 70 degrees for 3 months.  The high soil temperature necessary does not occur in our region and the bacteria can take over 4 to 5 years to build up, under ideal conditions, with a high population of Japanese beetles!  Wow!  You might want to go buy that lottery ticket today versus buying milky spore.

The Fourth reason not to use milky spore relates to how Japanese beetle grubs must ingest or eat the milky spore in the soil, not come into contact with, but eat it.  To summarize, even under ideal conditions, purchasing and using milky spore disease is a serious waste of money and time especially since there are more effective organic/biological methods like Nematodes. 

Nematodes are microscopic worms that are applied to the soil in a water spray.  The nematodes then swim and attack the grubs while swimming in water between the soil particles.  Nematodes will attack and destroy all of the grubs found in NH and VT listed above.  They will also attack sod webworms!  Since there is no “golden bullet”, Nematodes must be watered into the lawn or they will perish so that usually means applying them in the rain.  The soil must have sufficient moisture content and you must target the grubs at the right life cycle stage.  Having a professional apply Nematodes is the only true logistical option at this time, and our company does provide this service in our market area.

There are also a large range of new products on the market, some that do not even require a signal word because they are so applicator and environmentally friendly.  In some states like Vermont- you must have a pesticide license even if you are applying organic products since it is considered a pesticide even if it is organic.  Please keep in mind some organic products are just as dangerous or more so than some newer manufactured products.  There are several key points to remember before using any “pesticide”, the first being is a treatment required and why?  Secondly, what are the best material(s) to use for the job with the least impact to the environment and applicator.  Do we need to treat the entire lawn or just a portion of it?  Can we live with a small amount of damage and renovate later, only treating that one area or should we treat a larger area with a different product at a different time?  These are all questions best left to the professional because without knowing insect or disease life cycles, product components, mode of action, and application method- things can go wrong real quick.  This does not take into account the potential waste of material and use of a pesticide that should not have been used, regardless of composition.  Doing the right thing, at the right time is harder to do than you may think.

I do hope you have learned something new today or perhaps confirmed something you already believed in regarding grub control.  In any event, as fall fades into winter- be sure you are ready next spring because if you do have grubs- they will be waiting and you should have a game plan lined up this winter to address that very issue.  Thanks for visiting my humble blog!

Be sure to the visit this UNH video link  http://extension.unh.edu/agric/turf/media/lifecycl.htm

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Chinch bugs, when a brown lawn goes bad

Chinch bugs are under rated and a delightfully evil little lawn pest.  They love hot weather and can devastate a lawn if left unchecked in mere days to weeks.  Don’t think your are in the clear if you live out in the woods, these pests will find your lawn and eat it while you sleep.  They are small, they are shy and hide down in the thatch layer where you don’t see them.  Chinch bugs vary in color but the adults have an unmistakable white diamond on their backs.

These tiny little fellows have kids that range in color from orange, to gray, to black before reaching the slim classic adult with the diamond back.  They are about 1/8″ long and run fast when you uncover their hiding places.  A trained eye can easily spot them but unless you are down at ground level forget about it, these guys will party until your lawn is dead and gone.  The funny thing about chinch bugs is they get about two generations in NH and VT.  Left to their own evil plans, chinch bugs populations will build over time- especially in dry weather.  Since the adults overwinter and hide for the following year- the population will continue to expand and move further into your lawn.  In other words, chinch bugs do not die over the winter, they hide and wait for warmer weather like many of us!

I recently visited a lawn which pictures I have enclosed in this post.  I have not seen this many chinch bugs since the late 90′s!  Oh my word, there were so many, they were climbing up the garage door and foundation.  Can you say science fiction?  Not in this case- this is real.  If you view these pictures- the lawn has a grey tint to it versus a brown or tan.  While most lawns will only suffer blotches or patches, a heavy infestation will cause extreme thinning and the unmistakable look of death- grey.  This lawn has suffered massive damage and most of the turf will not recover especially with heat and drought stress.  We treated the lawn to clean up these villans today mostly to save the front lawn and stop the population explosion underway.

If you have any doubt, have a professional check it out.  This homeowner went to a local garden center and a few other “experts” and no one could determine the identity of this bug.  This is why licensed, educated, field experienced veterans like myself are truly of value and set the bar of those in the industry by merit and deed.  Don’t let a brown lawn stay brown, make sure it is checked.

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