Treat home lawns for chinch bugs, European chafer and Japanese beetle now

Editor’s note: This article is from the archives of the MSU Crop Advisory Team Alerts. Check the label of any pesticide referenced to ensure your use is included.

With the frequent rain this spring, we may not have as many problems as usual with chinch bugs. Still, it is worthwhile to check for chinch bugs now. Examine dry, sunny parts of your lawn that are looking thin and maybe even a little brown in places. When it is warm and your lawn is dry, check these spots for chinch bugs by getting down on your hands and knees and pull back the debris on the surface of your lawn between grass stems. Watch for small (0.125-long) black bugs scurrying for cover. If you can count more than 20 chinch bugs in two minutes of searching, you have enough to cause some turf damage. The damage from chinch bugs is greatest in July and early August.

Right now is a good time to treat for both chinch bugs and grubs, because one application of the same insecticides (imidacloprid, clothianidin, or thiamethoxam) works very well for both pests. Because they are systemic insecticides, taken up by the roots and moved throughout the plant, they can be applied with a fertilizer spreader. If your turf was damaged by grubs last fall or early this spring, now is the best time to apply imidacloprid, clothianidin, or thiomethoxam to prevent grub injury to turfgrass this fall and next spring. New damage from grubs won’t appear again until this September or October. Golf course superintendents and professional turf managers can use Merit, Meridian, Arena, Aloft, Allectus, or Mach II.

For homeowners, look for GrubEx, Season-Long Grub Control, Grub & Lawn Insect Control, or Grub Stop Once & Done. These products contain the same active ingredients listed above for chinch bugs. Granular insecticides are recommended for low maintenance turf where irrigation is not feasible. Applications of sprayable insecticides should be followed by 0.25 to 0.5 inch of irrigation.

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