Learning about choosing an appropriate organic treatment for lawn pests is an important step in cutting down on chemical pesticides that harm helpful and harmful insects alike. It protects desirable species, such as bees, and also decreases the risk of contaminating edible plants or causing harm to humans and pets.
Opting for organic lawn pest treatments--such as nematodes or fungi as opposed to merely spreading chemicals--enhances the overall health of the soil and lawn. Pests are likely to invade a sickly or stressed lawn before taking on healthy grass and turf; unhealthy lawn grasses are more likely to suffer from very visible pest damage than healthy grass.
Fungi work in harmony with the environment of the lawn and soil. This environment includes the soil pH level, available nutrients, soil makeup, watering and also light exposure. Organic lawn treatments with nematodes also take the variety of grass and the various kinds of pests into consideration.
It is a common misconception that predatory wasps and beetles are pests. In fact, they are integral parts of organic lawn pest treatments because they prey on the pests that actually cause damage to the grass, such as caterpillars. Do not assume that your non-chemical lawn pest treatment is failing simply because you may see some of them. Additionally, you might want to encourage the presence of helpful insects by actively attracting them to your yard. For example, lady bugs and minute pirate bugs prey on chinch bugs, which are a common problem in lawns.
Parasitic nematodes successfully control lawn pests by adversely affecting their ability to procreate, fly, live a natural lifespan or develop normally. Nematodes themselves do not become pests because their survival is tied to the presence of their target pests; when the pests are gone, so are the nematodes. Because different kinds of nematodes affect different pests, make sure to identify the target pests in your lawn. For example Steinernema carpocapsae affects flea larvae and sod webworms, while Steinernema scapterisci influences southern mole crickets.
When you choose to rely on nematodes as a way of controlling insects, such as grubs, you might only need to apply them to the lawn area every two to three years. After watering them into the soil, they will attack their target insects.
If you are thinking of using organic treatments for lawn pests before you have even seeded a lawn, consider using grass seeds that carry the label "endophyte-enhanced." Endophytes are fungi, which produce a toxin harmful to sod webworms, armyworms and chinch bugs.