Ticks and grubs are readily controlled with proper planning and the right product in hand. With ecologically friendly organic control measures, ticks and grubs can be safely reduced while you BBQ for friends and family outdoors!
Posts Tagged ‘ticks’
I visited many lawns this past week infested with grubs, chinch bugs, and even ticks. The picture below illustrates classic chinch bug damage with active chinch bugs feeding as adults. The picture to the right is that of an adult chinch bug. The lawn was thatchy and not a current client but certainly needs some help from my program. Left untreated, these adults will have lots of kids and spread to other areas, causing further damage this spring. Recommended treatment for chinch bug is a surface insect control, either organic or traditional in nature to stop the feeding. Aeration and seeding may also be warranted to help restore the turf area for a more pleasant view versus brown thatch. If you suspect insect damage, be sure to contact a local professional for a lawn inspection, not an over the phone lawn quote from a satellite.
While most people are generally aware that their lawn care company can address turf problems, many are not aware of tick suppression. Tick suppression can be a valuable service, especially for homes surrounded by fields and woods. Spring begins the tick season in NH and VT as the adults become active and seek a blood meal to reproduce. Ticks seek wild animals, pets, or your family members as they move out of winter hibernation. Unfortunately, most ticks are so small they are virtually impossible to see or avoid until you find them on your clothing. Nothing is more unsettling then finding ticks on your pets or children. Although the common dog tick does not transmit Lyme disease, the common Deer tick does carry this dangerous disease.
Most tick control products function well for 2-5 weeks ranging from organic to traditional materials. In fact, many new products are used in pet supplies and products found at your local pet store. The key to safety is using a responsible, experienced, and licensed lawn care company. You must have a license in NH or VT to treat for ticks, even if you use an organic product! Ticks are noxious pests and the saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is certainly worth heeding to avoid the painful condition brought about by Lyme disease.
While you may see a typical dog tick, you are not likely to see a Deer tick, a primary vector of Lyme disease. Therefore, treating your lawn around the house during the growing season is a sound decision. A tick treatment can be liquid or granular and should be applied to the perimeter of fields, woods, and your lawn to reduce the existing tick population. Reducing ticks in the spring is a sensible solution toward maintaining a safe outdoor living space.
There are many kinds of bugs that can damage or even destroy parts of your lawn such as the grub of the Japanese beetle. While they may be out of sight underground, their appetites for turf roots cannot be easily satisfied. As a result, browning usually occurs all the way to large areas of dead grass in the spring or fall. How can you save your lawn? Can this evil beetle and its associates be stopped? Take a deep breath as we take a closer look at this villain and his underground buddies.
To begin with, you must start with the environment. Grubs live underground therefore they are considered a subsurface insect pest, as opposed to a surface one- such as a chinch bug or perhaps cutworms. This is important because what method and material you may use to target the grubs underground is vital. So let us move onto timing. When can you kill them? Well, there is curative- you have grubs and they need to die now or preventative- you may have them or are likely to in the future so you treat ahead of time as insurance.
Before you treat anything, ask yourself a question. Do you really need to do this? Many lawns will tolerate minor grub infestations and do just well. Just because you found a few in your mulch beds or garden while digging does not make for an alien invasion or epidemic! An average lawn will tolerate grub feeding and not all grubs eat turf. So, before you pull out the tank and flame thrower, ask for some professional advice or at least consider the multitude of choices available.
Grub control products have progressed a great deal in the last few decades in terms of effectiveness, amount of active ingredient required, ease of application, and environmental impact. Before I proceed forget about Milky Spore, it does not work in New England and should be outlawed. Most registrations have elapsed or are revoked which is why there is only a few on the market even though there should be NONE. There is not a shred of scientific evidence or proof that one grub can be killed by this magical elixir in NH or VT. While I normally do not take such a harsh stand on a topic, I simply cannot stand on the side line while people throw their hard-earned money. Both Universities in NH & VT agree with this statement since it is at their training seminars that Milky Spore is akin to curing all of your aches and pains with just one teaspoon of “Uncle Jacks wonder tonic”. Let us move onto more productive conversation.
There are a handful of different materials that will virtually decimate a grub population when used properly. Many of these control products are only required in small amounts and last months because they are taken into the grass plant up through the root system. As a result, these control products are very effective and pose a minimal risk to user and the environment. One new product in particular does not even require a signal word (Danger/Warning/Caution) this is unheard of in the turf or agricultural industry. Most of these products can be applied alone or blended with a fertilizer for improved results. Some studies show that with proper irrigation, soil moisture, and fertilizer- a lawn is better protected due to the ability of the grub control material to be readily taken into the turf via the root system.
Most preventative control products can be applied from late May all the way into September in some cases. The stage of the grub and the material chosen is imperative because not all will work at specific times or stages. This would be like trying to stop an elephant with a broom, it just is not going to happen verses say a bulldozer- the tool being used and the timing is very important.
Nematodes are being bred and are being touted as a very effective organic if not biological control of not only Japanese but dozens of other beetle grubs. I plan on using nematodes this year in my program and have done enough research to at least give them a try based upon my findings. If stuff does not work, I just won’t use it- period. Sorry, but clients do expect results. There are lots of important things which must be done in terms of timing, watering, volume etc- but there is no denying these boys are chemical free! I will report back in a later post the results and findings of how these treatments went later this summer.
Now is the time to research and have your lawn treated if you have had grub damage or problems in the past. Remember, adult Japanese beetles are very difficult to control since they are strong flyers. Good hunting.
The following link sums up the importance of timing and life cycles when selecting control products:
June is typically a transition month from spring to summer. In terms of your grass or lawn, it is a time to be aware of increasing heat, mowing height, and the potential of insect damage.
Now is the time to raise your mowing height to 3-3.5” inches in both shade and sunny areas. In the sun, mowing high will help promote deeper roots which can minimize drought stress and subsequent browning. In the shade, longer grass maximizes the reduced sun light reaching the leaf so your lawn does better long term- reducing thinning. As I stated in my prior post on high heat, don’t mow when it is hot out and irrigate “hot spots” if you can to help reduce or lessen the effects of drought and summer heat.
Insect damage can occur in June from a variety of critters from chinch bugs, late stage white grubs, cut worm, sod webworm, billbug, and ticks are annoying to pets and humans. Many products exist to combat these insects which can cause minor to major lawn damage over a period of time. This is especially true if your lawn is brown as many assume this is just heat or drought damage. In fact, unusual browning within a green lawn can be a first visible symptom of insect activity. Left untreated, some of these pests will have a second generation in August, multiplying exponentially from the spring generation.
Insect control is usually divided into surface- above the ground or subsurface, below the ground. Many products are designed and should be used for different life stages and therefore are not interchangeable. What kills ticks by definition will not control white grubs of Japanese beetles below the ground. Also, trying to control certain grubs in July is futile given their life cycle or using the wrong product in the spring is just a waste of time with the wrong chemical in hand. There is preventative insect care and then there is curative care- both require specific timing and specific materials. Don’t just assume buying a bag of something and sprinkling it on your lawn in June will solve your problems.
A short statement on Milky Spore- Don’t use it in New England, it does not work and is a massive waste of money. Send me the check and I will at least send you a thank you note versus the chemical company taking your money and you have nothing in return. If you want organic insect control for grubs- Nematodes in the route you want to go, and it is actually proven to work in New Hampshire and Vermont- unlike milky spore that does not. Luckily, I use nematodes so if you are interested in that product, send me a note or response and I would be happy to respond on the logistics of this kind of treatment.
Ticks and other surface insects often need a perimeter spray on your lawn and into the surrounding woods or field to create a barrier. Many of these treatments are labeled for tick and other surface insects on your lawn like sod webworm, cutworm, chinch bugs and the rest of the gang. When used as directed by a professional, great control can be gained with a few treatments during the growing season. High populations of ticks often require several applications beginning in May into the summer months.
Another benefit of having a professional lawn care service like mine is the fact you get free monitoring during the season to inspect and bring to your attention potential issues. My licensed, experienced technicians will observe and make a note to either you and or me as to action that may be required to prevent unacceptable damage. Experience is the key here as I have said before in prior posts regarding employees of other, larger lawn care companies and the massive turnover they experience.
June is usually a great month to finish aeration, seeding, broadleaf weed control applications, grub control, tick control, high calcium lime, and a slow release fertilizer to prepare the grass for the upcoming summer. Remember, you are supposed to enjoy your lawn, not be a slave to it.
Now that the month of May has arrived, most everyone in NH and VT can begin seeding projects, treat for broadleaf weeds, and apply a crabgrass barrier if desired. May is typically a very busy month for most lawn care companies because they are not only implementing these treatments, some are able to treat for ticks. While most people are usually aware that their lawn care company can treat turf, many are not aware of tick control. Tick control can be a very valuable service, especially coming out of a mild winter which assists in the survival of adult ticks. May is the ideal month for tick control because the adults are waking up and crawling out in search of food- animals or you! While you may see a typical dog tick, you are not likely to see a Deer Tick, a primary vector of Lyme disease. Therefore, treating your turf around the house and into the perimeter of fields or woods is an excellent means in which to reduce the adult population before they mate and seek out a blood meal. May is the official tick month and with our mild past winter, this could be a banner year for all kinds of ticks in NH and VT.
Most tick control products can work for 2-5 weeks depending upon the rate and type of material used. In fact, many new products are used in pet supplies and products found at your local pet store. The key to safety is using a responsible, licensed lawn care company like mine not just Bob in his pickup truck. You must have a license in NH or VT to treat for ticks, even if you use an organic product! If you are targeting a pest, you must have insurance and have the training needed to treat for ticks. So before you try this yourself, you might want some advice from a professional. Ticks are nothing to mess around with and they can cause numerous diseases including Lyme disease a painful and expensive condition.
Enjoy the outdoors, but be sure to use an insect repellent to help protect your family and friends. Better yet, get a quote for tick control!