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Articles on this Page
- 10/31/13--07:38: _Bayer Showcases Spe...
- 11/05/13--11:18: _Ecologel Announces ...
- 11/06/13--11:10: _How To Treat Tawny ...
- 11/22/13--07:47: _Insecticide to Cont...
- 12/10/13--02:12: _Compare Chemical Pr...
- 12/16/13--02:40: _How To Detect & Man...
- 12/30/13--03:00: _Debugging Grub Control
- 01/17/14--07:56: _FMC Creates How-To ...
- 02/05/14--10:08: _Injectable Antibiot...
- 02/10/14--09:46: _California Approves...
- 02/18/14--03:00: _Taking Charge of Ch...
- 02/19/14--04:20: _Nufarm Intros Growt...
- 03/19/14--12:14: _Connecticut State L...
- 04/09/14--04:00: _PBI-Gordon Named Pr...
- 04/15/14--04:00: _Fungicides Take the...
- 04/28/14--11:47: _BioSafe Insect Cont...
- 04/30/14--07:53: _Quali-Pro Adds Stro...
- 05/07/14--04:00: _Why Testing Soil pH...
- 05/19/14--04:00: _When Turf Goes A-Rye
- 05/28/14--12:18: _3 Myths About Japan...
- 10/31/13--07:38: Bayer Showcases Specticle Plus Fertilizer at GIE+EXPO
- 11/05/13--11:18: Ecologel Announces 2014 Hydretain Photo Contest
- 11/06/13--11:10: How To Treat Tawny Crazy Ants
- Eliminate piles of lumber, bricks or other debris that could serve as a nesting site.
- Keep landscape mulch less than 2 inches thick and at least 12 inches away from foundations.
- Ensure the sprinkler system does not spray directly onto the foundation.
- Seal as many cracks in the home’s exterior as possible.
- Keep the tree and shrub branches trimmed to prevent touching the home.
- Consider re-landscaping to avoid using plants that are prone to aphids and similar insects. At the very least, treat such plants for aphids regularly.
- 11/22/13--07:47: Insecticide to Control More Than 30 Turf, Ornamental Pests
- 12/10/13--02:12: Compare Chemical Products with 2014 Guide
- 12/16/13--02:40: How To Detect & Manage Two Types of Beetles
- 12/30/13--03:00: Debugging Grub Control
- 01/17/14--07:56: FMC Creates How-To Videos for Chemical Application
- 02/05/14--10:08: Injectable Antibiotic Designed to Help Tree Health
- 02/10/14--09:46: California Approves Use of BioSafe Systems’ Pond, Garden Line
- 02/18/14--03:00: Taking Charge of Chinch Bugs
- 02/19/14--04:20: Nufarm Intros Growth Regulator, Herbicide for Turf
- Controls a wide spectrum of broadleaf weeds including dandelions, clover and lespedeza
- Can also be used for the removal of bermudagrass from cool-season turf
- Can be applied to all managed turf areas including golf fairways and roughs, residential and commercial lawns, sod farms, sports fields and similar areas.
- 04/09/14--04:00: PBI-Gordon Named Preferred Supplier of Segway Fungicide SC
- 04/15/14--04:00: Fungicides Take the Fall
- 04/28/14--11:47: BioSafe Insect Control Available in Smaller Sizes
- 04/30/14--07:53: Quali-Pro Adds Strobe 50WG Fungicide to Lineup
- 05/07/14--04:00: Why Testing Soil pH is Important
- 05/19/14--04:00: When Turf Goes A-Rye
- 05/28/14--12:18: 3 Myths About Japanese Beetles
Environmental Science, a division of Bayer CropScience LP, has launched Specticle plus Fertilizer.
The new product is a herbicide that provides warm-season turf managers up to eight months of residual control at low-use rates.
The division previewed the new product at GIE+EXPO in Louisville, Kentucky last week.
Specticle plus Fertilizer is available in two different concentrations and a variety of fertilizer blends to help meet the needs of warm-season turf grass professionals.
The product delivers residual pre-emergent control of more than 75 broadleaf and grassy weeds, including annual bluegrass, goosegrass, crabgrass and annual sedge.
The company created a guide to help lawn care professionals with application information specific to his or her location within the United States.
Have great Hydretain comparison photos?
Those who enter will have the chance to win a Canon Rebel T3i Digital Camera Bundle.
The grand prize includes an image stabilizing telephoto lens, camera case and 8GB SD card.
Those that enter will also have the opportunity to win second and third place prizes along with monthly drawings.
The company is looking for images that depict the Hydretain results through side by side or before and after comparison photos.
Photo submissions will be accepted from Jan. 1 through Sept. 30, 2014.
Photos taken prior the contest start date will be accepted.
All photos entered will be placed in an online gallery with winners being chosen by popular vote next October.
Creating colonies of tens of thousands of workers and multiple queens, the tawny crazy ant can cause a great deal of damage.
Although the ant doesn’t bite or sting, the species can cause an estimated $146.5 million in residential and commercial damage annually, according to a study from Texas A&M University.
One company, Terminix, has reported increases in the species near the Gulf Coast states including Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas.
The ants survive in moist, wooded areas such as within landscape mulch, litter, loose barks on trees or in piles of lumber.
The tawny crazy ant or its close relative, the Caribbean crazy ant, was first seen in North America in south Florida in the mid-1990s. This ant species is primarily spread through shipments of landscape plants, shipping containers and similar goods.
Because they do not feed much on traditional ant baits, the key to control is to find the colonies and subcolonies and treat them directly.
Regular inspections and service are necessary to find and treat new tawny crazy ant colonies as they move from neighboring properties.
Terminix offers the following tips for limiting tawny crazy ant infestations:
The insecticide features a three-way combination of FMC bifenthrin, FMC zeta-cypermethrin and imidacloprid, offering multiple modes of action on pests including ants, fire ants, grubs (masked chafer, European chafer and Japanese beetle), chinch bugs, annual bluegrass weevils, ticks, mites, billbugs, mole crickets and more.
Triple Crown is labeled for broadcast lawn treatments, mound treatment and landscape applications. Research also shows the insecticide works on bluegrass weevil and billbug adults, chinch bugs, mole crickets and other insects.
Available in an EW formulation, Triple Crown T&O insecticide is registered for use on lawn and landscaped areas around residential, institutional, public, commercial and industrial buildings, parks, recreational areas and athletic fields.
Triple Crown works through contact, translaminar and systemic activity, providing protection against sucking pests that feed on a plant’s vascular system, as well as foliar-feeding insects.
We’ve put the latest chemical care information — from what each chemical controls to what formulations are available — right at your fingertips.
In our 2014 Chemical Guide, you can flip through charts on insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, vertebrate pest controls, fertilizers, pesticides, plant growth regulators, non-selective herbicides, adjuvants, wetting agents and ornaments — both online and paired with our December print issue.
We’ve taken the guess work out of your chemical services. Now, you can tell exactly what each chemical treats to make sure you’re using the right one for the job.
Throw this guide into your truck or pull it up on your tablet or mobile device for use wherever you go.
Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) (Anoplophora glabripennis) and Emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) are tree killers. Unlike our native tree borers, these non-natives are capricious killers; the beetles will choose both healthy as well as unhealthy tree victims. However, beyond their original Asian addresses and their indiscriminate tastes in trees, these beetles have little else in common. (Read the history of these beetles here.)
Unfortunately, EAB and ALB have been found in the some of the same geographical locations in North America and the convergence of these killers in the same location may create confusion; when people hear “ALB,” they may think “EAB” and vice versa. The two beetles are like apples to oranges in almost all aspects including: biology; behavior; spread; distribution and management options.
The Killer’s MO
Again, these tree killers exhibit no real preferences for stressed versus healthy trees. However, EAB only infests and kills trees in one genus (Fraxinus), while ALB infests and kills trees in at least 13 genera.
Trees considered “good hosts” of ALB include: Acer (all maple species); Aesculus (horsechestnuts and buckeyes); Ulmus (elms) and Salix (willows). Trees that are considered “other hosts” include: Betula (birches); Platanus (sycamore/planetrees); Populus (poplars); Albizia (mimosa); Cercidiphyllum (katsura); Fraxinus (ashes); Koelreuteria (golden raintree); Sorbus (mountainash) and Celtis (hackberry).
While the “good hosts” in this list of genera are generally considered the trees most commonly attacked by ALB, all of the trees in this list can be attacked and killed by ALB. From the beetle’s perspective, the good hosts are like steak while the “other hosts” are like hamburger. All are food for ALB; all are considered hosts.
The speed with which these borers kill trees depends heavily on differences in larval feeding behavior, coupled with morphological differences in their host trees. EAB only attacks ash trees, and all ash species are “ring porous” which means water and nutrients are only transported from the roots upward through the single outermost xylem (i.e. white wood) ring.
Although EAB larvae are phloem-feeders, as the larvae gain size (girth), they start etching this critical outermost xylem ring. Consequently, trees may die quickly as EAB larvae girdle trees by consuming the phloem and etching the single functioning xylem ring to destroy the trees’ “plumbing.” The thinning of tree canopies is a key diagnostic feature of an EAB infestation.
ALB infests some ring porous trees; however, maples are most commonly attacked. All maples are “diffuse porous,” which means water and nutrients flow upward through the trees four to five outermost xylem rings. Although ALB larvae bore into the xylem, their tunneling causes less disruption of the xylem vascular flow compared to damage caused by EAB in a ring porous tree. In the end, the ALB larval damage does kill trees, but infested trees may linger for many years, giving the false impression they are not being killed. Of course, as they linger, the trees are a constant source of new beetles.
Clues to Detecting the Killers
While EAB and ALB will target both healthy as well as stressed hosts, always remember they will only select live hosts. There are many native wood boring beetles that bore into dead tree trunks and branches and the native borers may produce look-a-like holes and larval tunnels.
ALB is a large beetle, measuring around 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches length. They have characteristically long antennae (“longhorned”), with each one measuring as long as 2 inches. The beetles produce large, almost perfectly round exit holes measuring around 3/8 to 3/4 inches in diameter. Since the larvae feed deep within the xylem, the exit holes extend deep into the tree. Inserting a pencil into an exit hole is a good way to determine whether the hole was produced by a xylem-emerging borer. This is the so-called “pencil test.” Deep woodpecker holes on living maple trees are also a good indicator that larvae are living deep in the xylem.
ALB females also produce “oviposition pits” that are around the same size as the exit holes. The females chew through the bark and phloem down to the surface of the xylem where she deposits a single egg. Since the phloem is damaged, sap may ooze from the pits staining the bark. ALB follows a more or less random distribution pattern within a tree; oviposition pits and exit holes are almost as likely to be found at eye-level as they are high in the tree’s canopy.
EAB is a much smaller beetle, measuring around 3/8 to 5/8 inches in length. Adults have a flat back and round “belly” when viewed head-on, which is the orientation of the beetle as it emerges from trees. Thus, EAB creates a characteristic “D-shaped” emergence hole. Owing to the beetle’s small size, the holes are only around 1/8 inches across the flat side of the “D.” Females are much less deliberate in their egg laying behavior compared to ALB; they do nothing more than insert their ovipositors into bark crevices to deposit eggs. There are no tell-tale pits.
The relatively small size of the EAB exit holes makes finding them difficult until trees are heavily infested. Adding to the challenge is the tendency for the beetles to first infest the uppermost and outermost branches and then gradually work their way inward and downward with each successive generation. Consequently, exit holes are usually found at eye-level only when infested trees have been almost completely utilized by the beetles. However, unusually intense woodpecker activity on living ash trees is a good indicator that the trees are infested with EAB larvae. Since EAB larvae live in the phloem, woodpecker holes are very shallow and often accompanied by a dramatic removal of bark plates, most often in late winter to early spring.
Key tree symptoms used to detect EAB infestations include thinning canopies, heavy interior (epicormic) growth and bush-like basal growth; however, these are not dependable symptoms that can be used to detect ALB infestations. A much more dependable symptom for discovering new ALB infestations is branch breakage, which is a result of the structural branch weakening caused larval feeding damage to the xylem.
The differences in beetle sizes and exit holes, as well as infestation patterns within trees, provides a partial explanation as to why EAB went undetected for so long compared to ALB. As a consequence, EAB benefited from years of human-assisted spread before its discovery in North America. In fact, dendrochronology studies indicate the beetle was living in the Detroit suburb for around 21 years before its detection in 2002.
The natural spread of the two beetles is also very different. The much smaller EAB adults are very good fliers and easily disperse. While ALB adults are relatively good fliers, they take flight less frequently than EAB, perhaps because their large bodies require much more energy to launch and remain airborne. Thus, ALB tends to stay and continually re-infest trees until the trees die and are no longer able to support a new generation. As a result, ALB does not spread very fast between trees compared to EAB.
However, the ALB situation in Ohio represents several “firsts.” It was the first time the beetle had been found in a rural area dominated by farm land, and it is the southern-most ALB infestation to be found in North America. The Ohio infestations illustrate how this beetle may pop-up where least expected: Bethel is a rural community located far from major transportation hubs. The take-home message is to never assume ALB is “somewhere else.”
EAB is now found in multiple locations in North America with large populations in many U.S. states, as well as Ontario and Quebec, Canada. Therefore, the beetle represents a clear and present danger to ash trees throughout a large area of North America. ALB was first found on the continent in 1996, but even now, populations remain small and isolated compared to EAB.
The management strategy for ALB is eradication with the overarching goal to eliminate ALB from North America. The beetle has successfully been eradicated from Chicago, Illinois, Staten Island, Manhattan, and Islip, New York, two locations in New Jersey and from Toronto. However, successful eradication depends on continued vigilance and early detection. While ALB was declared eradicated from Toronto in April, 2013, an infestation was found in September 2013 in Mississauga, which is located just west of Toronto. Like elsewhere, this new infestation appears to be connected to the original Toronto population; vigilance remains the operative word.
Although EAB cannot be eradicated because it is so widespread, ash trees can be successfully protected against EAB through treatments with systemic insecticides. However, it is important to remember treatment success is measured by the health of the canopies, and not by the number of beetles killed. EAB larvae feed exclusively on the phloem where they are vulnerable to systemic insecticides. While the larvae are the primary target of the insecticides, adult EAB beetles are also killed when they feed on the leaves of systemically treated trees. Systemic insecticide treatments are highly effective in EAB suppression; however, the overarching management goal is very different from ALB. Maintaining a full canopy does not require 100% efficacy as every EAB beetle does not need to be killed.
Eradication using insecticides means the treatments must be 100-percent effective, or very nearly so. While ALB larvae start out feeding on the phloem, they quickly bore into the xylem. Unfortunately, this places the larvae out of the reach of systemic insecticides. If a tree already has ALB larvae in the xylem, the insects will successfully complete their development, pupate and new adults will emerge and disperse even if the tree is treated.
Insecticides have been used in a support role in ALB eradication programs in North America. However, unlike EAB where the larvae are the primary target, ALB adults are the primary target. Adults feed on twig and leaf tissue during the maturation period, which is the time required for eggs to develop inside the females, and the beetles may consume insecticides in the phloem tissue as they are feeding. Regrettably, while some ALB adults are killed, the number of adults killed will not meet the standards required for eradication. Field experiments conducted in China under highly controlled conditions using small (2-4-inch diameter) uniform trees found that ALB density was reduced by 71-90 percent. While this level of control may be sufficient for protecting trees, it is not adequate to justify the use of insecticides as a primary control tool when the goal is the complete eradication of the beetle.
Achieving high adult mortality is further challenged by the extended period that adults are active during the season, limitations associated with product label restrictions, and the fact that size matters; efficacy is uncertain on large trees. Thus, while insecticides have been used in a support role in ALB eradication programs in North America, they have always been used in conjunction with other eradication tools and primarily outside of the core infestation zones.
The most effective ALB eradication approach in terms of the time and money required to complete the eradication has been the removal and destruction of infested trees as well as high-risk host trees located within a prescribed distance to known infested trees. This provides a “safety” buffer in case lightly infested trees escape detection. Unfortunately, this approach may translate into the loss of large numbers of trees.
Although the overarching goal is to prevent ALB from escaping eradication to follow the same catastrophic spread trajectory as EAB in North America, gaining public acceptance of the “greater good” associated with suffering a heavy loss of trees to the chainsaw can present a serious challenge to ALB eradication plans. Of course, much is at stake with ALB given the beetle’s wide host range; it is potentially the most devastating non-native tree killer to have ever arrived on our shores.
By Joe Boggs, Amy Stone and Dan Herms
Joe Boggs is an assistant professor with the Ohio State University (OSU) Extension and OSU Department of Entomology. He works as a commercial horticulture educator for OSU Extension, Hamilton County (Cincinnati). Boggs can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com.
Amy Stone is a horticulture educator and county director with OSU Extension, Lucas County (Toledo). She is the state-wide co-ordinator for the OSU Extension, EAB/ALB Team. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dan Herms is a professor and chairperson of the OSU Department of Entomology. His area of expertise includes interactions between insects and woody plants including impacts of invasive insects on forest communities. He can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com.
It doesn’t take much digging to discover that grubs are a problem pest for turf managers throughout the United States. Given the expansive nature of grubs and the damage they can do, much time has been devoted to developing ways to control them, leading to some very effective products. If you aren’t getting rid of grubs, it’s time to troubleshoot your technique.
There are a variety of factors that can influence efficacy of products used for grub control, but there are three variables that are the most-likely culprits. If your results for control aren’t what you expected, odds are it’s because the product isn’t watered in effectively, the active ingredient isn’t appropriate or the timing is off.
Keep in mind, though, your standards of control might need an adjustment as well. In general, mortality in excess of 60 percent is considered to be adequate to drop the white grub population below the injury level and thus accomplish the goal of the application, according to the University of Illinois Extension. But it’s possible to boost that percentage by optimizing application timing and technique.
Initial signs your client may have grubs or that a treatment has failed are often revealed in spring as turf begins to green up. If you see bare patches, you’ll want to sample for grubs. Healthy turf can withstand a low population without evidence of damage up top, especially during a rainy fall or spring. But 10 to 12 grubs per square foot generally are enough to cause visible damage to turf.
Just add water
Getting grub-control products to the root zone where the larvae are feeding is a critical component to treating them successfully. In fact, it could be the most common missing link between a hit and miss, says David Smitley, professor of entomology and landscape industries extension special at Michigan State University.
Research tests during the past 25 years have clearly shown watering immediately after the application is critical to obtaining good results, according to Smitley, who is working on a journal article that reports the results of a meta-analysis of 25 years of his grub research trials.
“The single most important factor tied to failure to control grubs is not irrigating immediately after application. This is true for both sprayable and granular formulations,” Smitley says.
Even insecticides that don’t specify watering in on their labels will degrade from the ultraviolet light in sunlight if not watered into the soil within a few days of application by rainfall or irrigation, according to the University of Illinois Extension Service.
Both curative and preventive products are available for grubs, but your best bet for getting consistent control is to use a preventive product on lawns that have a history of grub populations. Getting grubs in the larval stage makes them much easier to control.
“The single most important factor tied to failure to control grubs is not irrigating immediately after application.”
“If you had confirmed grub damage (meaning that you found lots of grubs) the previous fall or spring then you may want to use a preventive insecticide for one or two years to build a more dense turf that will be tolerant of grubs,” Smitley says. “If you have treated for several years and you do not see evidence of grubs in your lawn or in the neighbor’s lawn, it may be time to stop treating.”
For prevention, Smitley recommends looking for products containing imidacloprid, thiamethoxam or chlorantraniloprole. These products, he says, work well for newly hatched grubs.
While larger (older) grubs are harder to control, there are products formulated to kill grubs in all stages. Carbaryl and trichlorfon are both effective at getting grubs when you’re too late for a preventive treatment.
“Do not use products containing only lambda-cyhalothrin, gamma-cyhalothrin, bifenthrin, deltamethrin, cyfluthrin or permethrin for grub control,” Smitley says. “Products containing only these ingredients will not work for grub control because the active ingredient binds with organic material and will not move down to where the grubs are feeding.”
Timing is critical when it comes to preventive grub control. Apply a product too early, and it will degrade or move through the soil and be gone before grubs hatch. If you’re too late, grubs will be larger, rendering your product ineffective. Always consult the product label for instructions on when to apply but know weather can influence the timing, too.
You want to get the product watered in a few weeks before grubs hatch, unless you’re using a product with the active ingredient chlorantraniliprole, which, according to Smitley, is less water-soluble and will stay in the soil longer.
“It is best to apply a product containing chlorantraniliprole as early in the spring as possible … for it to be the most effective when grubs hatch in July and August (in northern areas),” Smitley says.
Joe Weiss, owner of Green Rx Lawn and Pest Solutions in St. Louis, offers grub control as part of his standard lawn care program and has built a reputation for getting grubs.
“We do preventive control of grubs to hit them when they are younger and easier to control,” says Weiss, who attributes much of his success to application timing. “We put down product in early summer and that’s usually a rainy time around here, which helps.”
For prevention, Weiss and his crews use imidicloprid (AmTide) liquid treatments. Unless he picks up a client late in the season, he doesn’t have to bother much with curative treatments. When he does, he opts for trichlorfon (Dylox).
“When you offer a full program, it’s better to pay a little more for something you know is going to work than go with something cheaper and have to hope it works. I’ve never had a problem with a product not providing excellent and expected results for a client,” Weiss says. “I think we just have our timing down and know that it’s going to work.”
Learning how to apply chemicals is crucial for landscapers.
That is why FMC Professional Solutions has put together a few demonstration videos to help landscapers understand the proper guidelines for applying liquid pesticide applications.
The videos take viewers through a step-by-step process on how to apply liquid pesticides, as well as apply Talstar Professional Insecticide.
The videos, “How to Properly Apply Liquid Pesticides” and “How to Properly Apply Talstar Professional Insecticide” are each three minutes long. However, there is a six-minute version that incorporates both videos.
Each video shows proper safety practices, setting up and application of the chemicals, and provides detailed instructions on what to do and what not to do.
Lauren Wilson, a Technical Service Representative for FMC and a licensed commercial applicator conducts each demonstration starting by removing all pets, toys and people from the outdoor area.
She then shows the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) to wear while making an application. She also shows where to store the pesticides and how to prepare for an accidental spill.
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Landscapers can help tree health with Aroborjet’s Arbor-OTC.
Arbor-OTC is a product that is injected into into the tree’s xylem through the trunk.
The antibiotic is then taken up by the vascular system and distributed throughout the plants to suppress the disease.
The water-soluble antibiotic is for the annual suppression of bacterial disease in non-food-bearing trees and palms.
When injected, Arbor-OTC is inside the tree protecting the tissue when the bacterial disease is present.
The container comes in two sizes: a one-ounce (28 gram) jar, designed for treating 10 trees or palms at 10-inch diameter at breast height (DBH) in the same day. This container can be filled with water, covered and shaken, and then the Arbor-OTC can be poured directly into the formulation tank on trunk injection equipment.
For bigger projects, the 5 ounce (140 gram) container makes enough Arbor-OTC to treat 50 trees or palms at 10-inch DBH. This container comes with a scoop to dose out the proper volume to mix with water.
Annual applications of Arbor-OTC can be made to treat bacterial diseases including Bacterial Leaf Scorch, Fire Blight, Lethal Yellowing and Texas Phoenix Palm Decline (types of Phytoplasma Disease).
Other diseases that may be treated with Arbor-OTC include Ash Yellows, Bacterial Blast, Bacterial Blight, Bacterial Canker, Blossom Blast, Blossom Blight and Canker, Bunch Disease, Crown Gall, Decline, Fruit Spot, Leaf and Shoot Blight, Leaf Blight and Brown Rot, Leaf Spot, Lethal Decline, Phloem Necrosis, Stem Canker, Stubborn Disease, Tip Dieback, Vascular Yellows, Wetwood/Slime Flux, Witches’ Broom (caused by mycoplasma-like organisms), and X-Disease.
Arbor-OTC is not yet registered for use in all states, so landscapers need to contact a local extension or Department of Agriculture to verify the use of the product.
BioSafe Systems’ pond and garden line has been approved for use in California.
The products include OMRI listed disease, insect, mold and weed control products, as well as an all-purpose plant food.
The GreenClean pond line has grown over the last five years to include biodegradable granular, liquid, and tablet algaecides, beneficial bacteria, ph adjusters and blue colorant.
Give a chinch an inch, and they’ll take a yard. This old southern saying about chinch bugs speaks to the destructive nature of these pests that threaten turf in the South and Southeast. Even though chinch bugs are found throughout the United States, it’s the southern chinch bug that has notoriously evaded control by developing resistance to some of the most commonly used insecticides.
However, a ton of products are available to rid this pest from commercial turf and residential lawns. If you’re not getting the results from the product you’re using and you live in Florida, there’s a chance that chinch bugs have become resistant to it. Most likely, though, you simply need to evaluate and adjust your method of application.
Experts consistently describe the cost of controlling the southern chinch bug in the millions. In Florida alone, $5 million annually is spent on control and on replacing chinch-damaged turf. Richard Duble, professor and extension turfgrass specialist at Texas A&M University, calls the southern chinch bug the most destructive pest of St. Augustinegrass lawns, with more than $50 million spent each year for its control.
Southern chinch bugs are active most of the year. In especially warmer regions, like south Florida, they can be active all year long, feeding on St. Augustinegrass. With overlapping life stages, they are nearly constantly a threat.
Populations tend to clump together to feed in one area before moving on to the next, draining the sap from turf until it withers. “As their host plants die, individuals will walk to neighboring St. Augustinegrass plant to continue feeding,” says Eileen Buss, associate professor of entomology at the University of Florida. “Thus, dead patches of grass seem to get larger over time.”
Checking for chinch bugs
Confirming a chinch bug population in turf is easier said than done, as chinch bug damage can be confused with that of other insect pests and some diseases, as well as dehydration. Damage in St. Augustine first presents itself as yellow or brownish spots.
“Damage may occur in open, sunny areas near sidewalks and driveways but also in the middle of lawns,” Buss says. “Infested plants have slower growth, turn yellow, then rusty reddish-brown and die. The damage is often confused with drought or frost stress.”
To confirm the cause, look for chinch bugs between the thatch and soil of a yellowed area. Adults are 1/5-inch long and have black bodies and white wings. Buss says another option is to use a Dust Buster or handheld vacuum to suck up any bugs near damaged areas. Empty the contents to find nymphs or adult chinch bugs.
Hard to resist
Outside of Florida, chinch bug resistance to insecticides isn’t all that common. So if you are using a product labeled to control them and it isn’t doing the job, resistance should not be your first consideration.
“It is important to understand that other than a few populations in Florida, most populations in other states are not known to be resistant to some of the most commonly used insecticides, such as bifenthrin (Talstar and others),” says Juang Horng Chong, assistant professor of entomology at Clemson University. “I would not assume resistance is the main factor when there is a difficult-to-control population outside of Florida.”
Instead, Chong recommends considering how you’re applying the product. In fact, he says most of the issues related to poor control of southern chinch bugs stems from poor application and penetration.
“It is important to use either high-volume spray (2-5 gallons per 1,000 square feet) or watering-in after application to drive the insecticides down to the thatch layer where the chinch bugs are feeding and hiding,” Chong says. “Dethatching before the application also helps. Following good preparation and application precautions, even an often-used insecticide, such as bifenthrin, can be effective.”
If you’re working on a lawn that has been treated with a single insecticidal active ingredient during multiple years and aren’t getting results — and are confident in your application method — Chong recommends contacting your state extension personnel for help in determining if resistance is indeed an issue.
Fighting the resistance
“If resistance is indeed an issue, then the use of all the insecticides belonging to the affected chemical class or mode of action must be stopped,” says Chong. “To delay resistance development and to develop a program after the resistance is confirmed, insecticides of different modes of action should be used.”
The Insecticide Resistance Action Committee (IRAC) has developed a coding system to make the determination of the mode of action easy for everyone. Many insecticide manufacturers have adopted this code and include it prominently on their chemical label (usually above or close to the brand name of the product), Chong explains.
Within this system, each mode of action is assigned a number. To rotate modes of action, you would rotate products that have different numbers.
“It is important to remember that insecticides of different brand names may have the same IRAC number and that insecticides belonging to IRAC number 1A (Carbamates) are of the same mode of action as 1B (Organophosphates) and should not be rotated in sequence. A typical rotation program would rotate insecticides of different modes of action (or IRAC numbers) for different generations of the target pest,” Chong says. “For chinch bugs, that means using products of a single mode of action for about 2 months (1 1/2 months in Florida in the summer) then changing to products of another mode of action.”
Unless the population is especially large and damaging, a few treatments at 14 days apart should do well in preventing damage, he says.
While there are a lot of insecticides registered for management of chinch bugs, Chong recommends carbamates (1A), organophosphates (1B) and pyrethroids (3).
“In my experience, most of the systemic neonicotinoids (4A) are for suppression at best, except for clothianidin (Arena, Aloft), which has good efficacy and is quickly becoming a good choice for managing the pyrethroid-resistant population in Florida,” Chong says. “Chlorantraniliprole (Acelepryn) is also labeled for suppression of chinch bugs and must reapplied ahead of the population build up.”
Nufarm has introduced a turf growth regulator for ornamental lawns, golf courses and athletic turf surfaces, as well as a herbicide for turf weed management.
Anuew Turf Growth Regulator is a propriety tool for cool- and warm-season turf management.
The active ingredient in Anuew is prohexadione calcium, an active ingredient with a novel mode of action. Anuew can be applied to all managed turf areas including golf greens, tees, fairways and roughs, residential and commercial lawns, sod farms, sports fields and similar areas.
Anuew is designed to suppress vegetative growth, as well as improve density and quality desired of turfgrass.
Nufarm has also introduced Last Call herbicide, a selective herbicide that is used in cool-season turf weed management.
It is a post-emergent product that contains a proprietary formulation of fenoxaprop, fluroxypyr and dicamba.
Last Call is labeled for use on most managed turf areas, including residential and commercial turf, golf fairways and roughs, sports turf and sod farms.
The lawmakers are considering whether to expand the restrictions on pesticide use to include more public places like parks, playgrounds and municipal greens, according to the New Haven Register.
A bill has been drafted to help protect children from toxic lawn pesticides. The General Assembly’s Environmental Committee scheduled a public hearing on the proposal for today in Hartford.
If the bill passed, it would also expand current restrictions on using pesticides at schools to include all high schools, and it would restrict their use at parks, playgrounds, athletic fields and town greens.
However, members of a state association of public parks and recreation officials are against the bill stating it has little basis in science and could lead to more injuries on sports fields because of turf damage from insects.