Organic solution for lawn pests?

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by jimbowimbo, Apr 17, 2008.

  1. jimbowimbo

    jimbowimbo LawnSite Member
    Messages: 9

    Ok I know this is a broad and newbish kind of question but is there any organic solution to grubs?

    I understand a healthy lawn can fight off pathogens and all that on its own but what about bugs? Is there a way an organic lawn can defend against lawn pests?
  2. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,115

    When there is an infestation of anything beit weeds or bugs something is out of whack, typically for bugs the predators do not exist to keep them in check.

    It is a sign of abuse or neglect to be infested by grubs or anything for that matter, try to support the biology and life in the soil and things will "come around"

    For a quick fix, weeks not days, there are nemtodes that carry a lethal fungus in their gut and they love to feast on grubs. They infect the grub with the fungus, it goes to their gut where it eats them from the inside out. The nematode in return get to feast on the grub, dead grubs also release nutrients into the soil that feed the turf

    There is one company Nematec out of california that sells them

    We are working on something completely ubiqutous in nature that has great potential, we just don't have the data back yet to back up our claim. This stuff is about as harmless as it gets to people but lethal to nematodes for sure, grubs? no data yet
  3. treegal1

    treegal1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,911

    milky spore should work
  4. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,115

    On Japanese beetles only.

    You do bring up a good point TG, for practices to work effectively the exact perp needs to be identified first.

    I have no idea how many types of grubs there are but I believe most if not all arthopods have a larval stage ( I'm no bug guy) so we could be talking about 1 type out of thousands possible
  5. NJT

    NJT LawnSite Member
    Messages: 95

    I've been reading up on the uses and benefits of nematodes. However, I only read about them being used as a curative, and not a preventative. So my question is: Can beneficial nematodes be used in preventative applications, as well as curative?
  6. dishboy

    dishboy LawnSite Fanatic
    from zone 6
    Messages: 6,177

    I would also like to see a answer to this , but specifically the target being the Bluegrass Billbug larvae , a big problem out here.
  7. Organic a go go

    Organic a go go LawnSite Member
    Messages: 211

    Nematodes will rock any grub's world
  8. Organic a go go

    Organic a go go LawnSite Member
    Messages: 211

    Sorry guys, itchy send finger went into action before I was done typing...

    Nemtodes work very well on any grub but they are not prophylactic. They infect the grub and basically puke bacteria into its system, killing it in short order. You've got to time your app when they're present in the soil. Effective but time sensitive. Price accordingly.
  9. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,115

    This information is from another listserver in the northeast so the issues may be local in scope but the basic idea overall, long term organic programs, is still true universally

    We haven’t used Bacillus popillae (milky Spore) in the last 12 years (after the severe drought of 1995 devasted the Jap. Beetle population for years and other grub species “moved in”—back then it was European chafer) or entomopathogenic nematodes for over a decade. Pat Vittum at UMass was more sanguine about Heterorhabditis, and it did work for us in years past. Application is tricky and proper application and post application management is critical. The fact is, for the sake of the clients and their expectations, the synthetic solutions are often the only viable options short term—but our experience with organic/least toxic turf management is that cultural management is the key long-term. We have observed a few of our lawns with 25 to 30 grubs per square foot; the literature says the lawn should be dead but you couldn’t rip out these lawns with a backhoe (well, maybe a little exaggeration for effect; but you get the idea). Our experience shows that after a few years on our program grub damage essentially disappears—we inherit the problem from other programs only.
    I am glad to hear NOFA has experts teaching this stuff, so where is all this other information coming from? Maybe a program on Ecological Pest Management should be on the Underground’s future schedule—and it should include a serious discussion of LEGITIMATE IPM and how organic and least toxic principles apply.
    Michael Talbot, MCH, ISA, Principal Consultant
    Michael Talbot & Associates, Inc.
    Ecological Design, Tree and Lawn Services
  10. treegal1

    treegal1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,911

    oops thought you were talking about jpb grubs.
    nemtoads then.

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