This article is contributed by Daniel Mackie, co-owner of Greenleaf Pest Control. He is a Toronto pest control expert well-known as an industry go-to guy, an innovator of safe, effective pest control solutions, and is a regular guest on HGTV. Mackie, along with business partner Sandy Costa, were the first pest control professionals in Canada to use detection dogs and thermal remediation for the successful eradication of bed bugs. In his free time, he is an avid gardener.
The spring season is finally upon us and, for homeowners across the country; this means it’s time to get their lawns back into shape. Nothing beats a well-manicured lawn in the spring, especially when it’s accompanied by a luscious garden of blossoming plants and flowers. Unfortunately, envious neighbors and astounded passersby aren’t the only ones who will be drawn to your fresh lawn – destructive spring pests are also sure to flock to your yard by the thousands.
Treating lawn infestations can be very difficult: once pests take over, they will destroy your grass and garden. That is why taking preventative measures as early as possible will be your best bet to maintaining a healthy lawn. In order to ensure your lawn is the talk of the neighborhood and not a withered version of its true potential, following are some simple tips to keep the destructive, grass-eating pests at bay.
Why Lawns are Ideal Environments for Pests
There are many reasons why lawns provide an ideal environment for so many pests. First and foremost, grass serves as an excellent food source for the larvae of many bugs, giving them the nutrients they need to grow into those nasty pests that take over, come spring and summer. Second, as homeowners begin to actively water and manicure their lawns, their lawn becomes an ideal location for insects to hide from their natural predators, which also makes your lawn an ideal area to reproduce.
How to Prevent an Infestation
There are numerous solutions to prevent lawn pests this spring. However, you should avoid the extensive use of pesticides, as they can destroy your grass and kill beneficial insects that help your garden grow. Instead, try these eco-friendly prevention methods to keep your yard, family, and pets’ safe.
Introduce Beneficial Insects
It may seem counterproductive to introduce insects into an area where you want them removed in the first place, but the fact is, there are plenty beneficial bugs that will be your greatest allies this spring. Lady bugs, nematodes, and spiders all actively feed on the insects that destroy your lawn, and they won’t pose any damage to your yard during the feeding frenzy. You may either buy these insects or encourage their arrival by introducing certain plants into your garden.
Use Diatomaceous Earth
Made from fossilized diatoms that have accumulated over millions of years, diatomaceous earth is one of the most effective eco-friendly solutions to invasive pests. Even better, it is so safe for people to use that they can ingest it without any adverse effects. Diatomaceous earth is a white, powdery substance that cuts through an insect’s exoskeleton and dehydrates their soft interior. Sprinkle throughout your yard and you will deter insects from taking residence in your lawn.
Spring pests are looking for a viable source of nourishment to reproduce, so why not beat them at their own game? Placing traps with eco-friendly baits will draw in invasive insects and kill them before they make home in your lawn. Be sure to replace these traps often to ensure effectiveness, especially after a bout of rain.
Diversify Your Plants
If you have a garden near your lawn, chances are it will draw in invasive insects to the area. One way to prevent them from taking over is to diversify your plants. Mixing in varying plants and flowers makes it much more difficult for insects to find their favorite meal, and it could be just enough to make them look elsewhere this spring.
How to Treat an Infestation
If preventative measures didn’t do the trick, and your lawn is showing signs of destruction from insects, you may already have an infestation on your hands. Although you may be tempted to use chemical pesticides to treat the problem, it is best to use eco-friendly treatments,which aren’t harmful to the environment or your lawn.
Many of the above remedies can be used to treat infestations in other areas of the house as well, only the quantities and application should be adjusted accordingly. Baited traps, beneficial insects, and diatomaceous earth will effectively treat your pest problem, but you will need to locate and identify the type of infestation you have on your hands. Once pests have been identified, you can also use organic fertilizers and insecticides to treat an infestation.
Insects may be vital components in our ecosystem, but that doesn’t mean they need to take over your property. The best way to keep a healthy lawn this spring is to begin treatment today and actively repeat it through fall. If you begin to notice your grass growing yellow or patchy, it’s time to up the treatment and make sure these pests are gone for good.
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