Tech Notes

Essential IPM practices for lawn pest control

By Chris Keefer, Technical Services Representative, Syngenta Professional Pest Management

There are many reasons why lawns lose their aesthetic appeal. Depending on your region, pests can be the reason why. Some of the most common pests you’re likely to encounter in lawns are grubs, chinch bugs and red imported fire ants. These insects thrive in landscapes around structures, so you may want to consider expanding your business to treating yards as well.

Here are three common lawn and landscape pests that have different appearances, behaviors and control methods. It’s important to know and understand each:

White grubs:

  • More than 100 species, but only a few cause damage to turfgrass
  • Larval life form of a beetle, with a C-shaped body
  • One generation per year
  • Active in late spring and early summer
  • Feed on roots of grass
  • Can be controlled with a pesticide by making broadcast applications to the landscape with a product labeled for grubs
  • Make applications based on historical information for your region

Southern chinch bugs:

  • Adults are black with whitish wings and are beetle-like in appearance
  • Nymphs are red to black
  • Usually two generations per year
  • Overwinter as adults
  • Active from April to October, especially during the summer months
    Suck sap from nodes and crowns of turfgrass
  • Can be controlled by decreasing fertilizer usage, using appropriate water volumes and, if necessary, utilizing a pesticide labeled for chinch bugs
  • Make applications when insects are first observed

Red imported fire ants:

  • Possess a stinger
  • Multiple generations per year 
  • Active during the spring, summer and fall
  • Build unsightly mounds in turfgrass
  • Can be controlled by using a fire ant bait throughout the turfgrass, and by treating individual mounds with a liquid pesticide labeled for red imported fire ants

An integrated pest management approach is important for controlling destructive pests and providing a pest-free lawn. Regular inspection of turfgrass can prevent most infestations. Since pest activity is seasonal and cyclical, it can be easily identified before an infestation occurs. It’s also important to keep the weather in mind, as it can be a key factor in determining when infestations will occur, along with fertilizer, water, aeration and disease and weed management.

Before taking any further action, be certain insects are the actual cause of the damage and that their present life stage will be controlled by your treatment. If these pests are discovered and chemical control is necessary, Tandem® insecticide (grubs and chinch bugs), Advion® fire ant bait and Demand® CS insecticide (red imported fire ants) are highly efficacious against the aforementioned invaders. Ensure you have the proper license to make lawn applications and always follow product label directions before applying.

For more information about lawn pest control, visit or contact your local Syngenta territory manager.


Bennett, G. W., J. M. Owens, and R. M. Corrigan. 1997. Truman’s Scientific Guide to Pest Control Operations. Advanstar Communications Inc., Cleveland, OH.

Ebelling, Walter. 1975. Urban Entomology. University of California Division of Agricultural Sciences. Los Angeles, CA.

Mallis, A. 1990. Handbook of Pest Control. Franzak and Foster Co., Cleveland, OH.

Metcalf, C.L. and W.P. Flint. 1928. Destructive and Useful Insects Their Habits and Control. McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., New York.

21 February 2017.

21 February 2017.

©2017 Syngenta. Important: Always read and follow label instructions. Some products may not be registered for sale or use in all states or counties and/or may have state-specific use requirements. Please check with your local extension service to ensure registration and proper use. Advion®, Demand®, For Life Uninterrupted™, GreenCast®, Tandem® and the Syngenta logo are trademarks of a Syngenta Group Company. Syngenta Customer Center: 1-866-SYNGENT(A) (796-4368).

Syngenta PPM Emails

Tips and new innovative products to stay ahead of the game with Syngenta.

Learn More

Archive Search