Tech Notes

Proper identification and treatment of common lawn pests

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

As the weather warms up, lawn pests start to emerge. Well-maintained turfgrass is key to preventing lawn pests, and utilizing an integrated pest management approach can help minimize favorable conditions for these pests.

Before taking any management steps, be sure insects are causing the damage, and determine whether they are present in life stages susceptible to control methods. Look for the following characteristics of these common lawn pests, and then implement control methods once they have been identified:

Red imported fire ants:

  • Have adults that are reddish in color
  • Possess a stinger
  • Have multiple generations per year
  • Are active in the spring, summer and fall
  • Control options:
    • Apply Advion® fire ant bait throughout the turfgrass at a rate of 1.5 lbs./A. Faster than any other fire ant bait on the market, Advion fire ant bait can ensure total colony control within 24-72 hours, in most cases. Apply the bait with a hand or push spreader at a consistent speed to cover the entire treatment zone.
    • For a high density of mounds, make a liquid application of Demand® CS insecticide at a 0.03% concentration using a rodding tool to treat down into the mound, or with a standard spray nozzle. Do not treat areas with Demand CS that will or have been treated with Advion fire ant bait because it will contaminate the bait and lower the efficacy.

Mole crickets:

  • Have adults that are brownish in color
  • Are 2.5-3.5 cm long
  • Possess short wings
  • Have one generation per year, on average
  • Are active in the spring, summer and fall
  • Have forelegs modified for digging
  • Feed on grass roots
  • Control options:
    • Apply Advion insect granule throughout the turfgrass at a rate of 1.15-4.6 lbs./1,000 sq. ft. This non-repellent, low-odor bait is effective on hard-to-control late-stage nymph and adult mole crickets. For smaller treatment areas, apply 1.84-7.36 oz./100 sq. ft. Apply the bait with a handheld or push spreader at a consistent speed to cover the entire treatment zone.
    • If a liquid application is preferred, Tandem® insecticide at a concentration of 0.0065% can be applied at 2-10 gal./1,000 sq. ft. Lambda-cyhalothrin, one of the active ingredients in Tandem, can suppress mole cricket adults and larvae. Its other, systemic active ingredient, thiamethoxam, can suppress populations long-term.

Sod webworms:

  • Have adults that are dull-colored and 3 cm long
  • Have larvae that are greenish in color and 2 cm long
  • Can have two to three generations per year
  • Have larvae that generally feed during summer nights
  • Create baseball-sized patches of dead grass on lawns
  • Control options:
    • Apply Tandem at a concentration of 0.065% throughout the turfgrass at 2-10 gal./1,000 sq. ft., which will allow the active ingredient to move into the canopy and thatch layers for successful sod webworm control. Tandem should be applied in the late afternoon, just prior to larvae feeding.

Use this guide as a cheat sheet to help provide customers with lawns free of nuisance pests. For more information, visit www.SyngentaPMP.com or contact your local Syngenta territory manager.

©2018 Syngenta. Important: Always read and follow label instructions. Some products may not be registered for sale or use in all states or counties. Please check with your local extension service to ensure registration status. Advion®, Demand®, For Life Uninterrupted™, Tandem® and the Syngenta logo are trademarks of a Syngenta Group Company. Syngenta Customer Center: 1-866-SYNGENT(A) (796-4368).


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© 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. The trademarks displayed or otherwise used herein are trademarks or service marks of a Syngenta Group Company or third parties. Syngenta Customer Center: 1-866-SYNGENT(A) (796-4368).