University of Missouri Extension

IPM1020, Revised November 2014

Turfgrass Insects

Using insecticides

Insecticide use should be the last resort in managing insect pests, but may be necessary even with a careful integrated pest management plan in place. Herbivorous and nuisance insects are mobile and tend to establish at their preferred food source, which may just happen to be lawns, golf courses or sports fields. Most turfgrass managers realize that maintaining acceptable appearance and turf health will involve the use of synthetic pesticides, and that proper stewardship involves careful, responsible and prudent application of these compounds.

Safeguarding beneficial insects in the landscape, particularly bees and other pollinators, is a critical issue that must be considered before insecticide use. New bee advisory icons are now placed on the label of insecticide products that carry risk for affecting pollinators. When using turfgrass insecticides, several practical measures for protecting these nontarget insects should be implemented.

Insecticide resistance — the development of insect populations that can tolerate once lethal insecticide doses — is another major problem. Chinch bugs, billbugs, fall armyworms and Japanese beetles are examples of turfgrass insects that have had confirmed cases of insecticide resistance. Several management strategies should be incorporated to reduce the risk of resistance development.

A crucial aspect of a resistance management strategy is to know not only the insect, but also the insecticide being used. Insecticides are grouped into chemical classes according to their biochemical mode of action on the pest. To effectively implement number 4 or 6 above, products from the same group should not be applied exclusively and should be rotated with insecticides from another class. Current insecticide labels include banners indicating the chemical class group, which should be used to facilitate resistance management.

Banners Banners on insecticide labels indicate class or mode of action.

IPM1020 Turfgrass Insects | University of Missouri Extension

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