How to Keep Lawn Pests Away (Florida Edition)
Lawn pests are no joke, especially here in Florida. They’ll wreak havoc on the appearance and health of your lawn, and some even pose a threat to humans through the transmission of potentially deadly diseases. Knowing how to prevent pests from invading your lawn protects your family while ensuring that your yard will always look great.
At Heron Home & Outdoor, we have over twenty years of experience dealing with lawn pests in Florida. Here are a few tips and tricks we’ve learned:
Prevent a Lawn Pest Infestation Before It Breaks Out
Once a lawn pest infestation takes hold, it can be very difficult to get rid of. That’s why preventative maintenance is such an important aspect of lawn care. A few extra precautions could save a lot of time and effort down the road. Follow these guidelines to prevent infestations from happening in the first place:
- Mow Regularly: Pests have an easier time hiding in tall, unkempt grass. Regularly mowing your lawn will help you avoid pests while creating a beautiful, manicured look.
- Avoid Overwatering: Since pests need moisture to survive, they are attracted to lawns with moisture issues. Avoid overwatering and watch for problems like overflowing gutters or leaky irrigation systems.
- Perform Weed Control: Weeds are not only unsightly; they are also very enticing to pests, especially if they flower. Preventing or removing weeds can help you avoid infestations.
- Remove Leaves and Debris: Sticks, twigs, leaves, and other debris create the perfect environment for pests to nest, so be sure to regularly clear these away.
Common Lawn Pests in Florida
Knowing about the common lawn pests in your area can help you spot an infestation early on. The sooner you catch an invasion, the easier it will be to eliminate. These are the most common lawn pests in Florida:
How to Spot an Infestation
Pests are great at hiding, which makes it difficult to identify an infestation until it has already spread throughout your yard. To spot pests before they can settle in, you’ll want to keep an eye out for the signs of an infestation. The most common signs of a lawn pest infestation include:
- Patches or strips of dead grass
- Burrows or dirt mounds
- Holes or other damage
- Gnaw marks on grass blades
- Live pests or eggs
Perform a Drench Test
A “drench test” can tell you if you’re dealing with an infestation.
Simply mix 3-4 tablespoons of dishwashing soap with 2 gallons of water. Pour the mixture out over a small patch of your lawn and wait about 10 minutes to see if any pests rise to the surface. If you notice a plethora of insects, then you are likely facing an infestation.
How to Get Rid of Lawn Pests
Outdoor pest control can be tricky, but there are a few easy steps we recommend taking. As soon as you notice signs of an infestation, take swift action. Lawn pests can multiply and cause excessive damage in your yard quickly.
Clean Up Your Outdoor Space
Pests love messy spaces with lots of nooks and crannies that they can hide in. That’s why the first step to eliminating an infestation is to examine your yard and find ways to tidy up. Follow these steps to make your yard less appealing to pests:
- Cover trash bins
- Get rid of leaves or debris
- Trim and maintain your grass
- Clean out your gutters
- Fix leaky irrigation or plumbing
- Update your irrigation settings
- Remove clutter like toys and tools
- Bring pet bowls inside
Natural Lawn Pest Control Remedies
Once your yard is cleaned up, it’s time to drive the pests out of your lawn. Natural pest control solutions are a great way to start because they are safe and environmentally friendly. Here are some of the best natural lawn pest remedies.
Try Neem Oil Spray
Neem oil is a natural substance derived from the seeds of neem trees. In addition to being antibacterial, antifungal, and antiseptic, this oil also prevents insects from feeding and breeding. Since it is biodegradable and nontoxic to pets, it is a safe and environmentally friendly insecticide. Neem oil can be purchased at most garden stores. If you are making your own spray, mix two teaspoons of neem oil with one teaspoon of mild soap. Shake them together with a quart of water, and then spray directly onto the plant’s foliage to deter pests.
Encourage Natural Predators into Your Yard
Depending on what type of pest you’re dealing with, natural predators can be very helpful in eliminating your infestation. From beneficial insects to birds, there are strategies for attracting these natural predators into your yard that you can read up on. Here in Florida, some of our favorite natural predators include:
- Big-eyed bugs
- Praying mantises
Dethatch and Aerate Your Lawn
Thatch is a layer in your lawn that is composed of clippings, dead grass stems, and roots. Though it’s healthy for your lawn to have a thin layer of thatch, too much can suffocate your lawn and attract pests. Once the thatch is over ¾” thick, it’s time to manage the buildup by aerating.
Aerating your lawn is the process of poking small holes into the surface. This helps to break through thatch and allows oxygen to penetrate the roots. Not only does this encourage healthier growth, but it deters pests from making themselves at home in your lawn.
Tried everything and still can’t control pests in your yard? Then it may be useful to consider a chemical pesticide. While pesticides can be incredibly effective against pests, they are powerful and carry substantial risk if misused. That’s why we recommend working with a professional.
Though pesticides are safe when used properly, they should be used cautiously and as a last line of defense against pests. Do not use pesticides unless:
- You understand the risk factors: Pesticides can be dangerous, which is why you should always consider the risk factors around your home. If you have pets, children, or individuals with specific allergies, it may be best to work with a professional for safe pest control.
- You’ve tried alternatives: Try clearing out your yard, using natural remedies, and talking with a pest control specialist before investing in do-it-yourself pesticide treatments.
- Your infestation is severe or dangerous: Pests that are capable of spreading diseases, such as mosquitoes or mice, can be hazardous to your health. If you are dealing with a potentially dangerous pest that you can’t get rid of naturally, then pesticides may be a good option.
- You’ve done your research: Not all pesticides are created equal, and it’s crucial that you read the label to find one that is safe and effective. It’s also important to check city or community guidelines surrounding pesticide use to make sure you are following all rules and regulations.
- You are confident with your ability to safely apply a treatment: If you aren’t 100% sure that you can safely apply a pesticide to your lawn, then you should contact a lawn care expert for help. A small investment in professional services is worth preventing a serious accident.
Tips for Safe Pesticide Application
Pesticides can be dangerous if mishandled, which is why they should always be used with care and caution. Follow these basic guidelines to ensure safe pesticide application:
- Carefully read and follow all instructions
- Remember to wear safety protection gear
- Always measure carefully
- Remove children and pets from the area
- Leave a warning sign if possible
- Have a plan in case of accidental exposure
Get Professional Lawn Pest Control
Whether you’re actively dealing with an infestation or want to ensure your lawn remains pest-free, a lawn pest control specialist can help! If you need great lawn pest control services or advice on how you can protect your yard, don’t hesitate to reach out to the experts at Heron Home & Outdoor. Our team has proudly served home and business owners throughout Florida for years, so we can help handle all of your lawn care needs.
How to Keep Lawn Pests Away (Florida Edition) in Orlando FL and surrounding counties
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