Avoiding 3 Common Lawn Pests

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Pests are a common problem in Gainesville landscaping. Mosquitos and ticks are not just small nuisances, but they also carry harmful diseases. Though less harmful to people, chinch bugs can be devastating to your lawn. An infestation can cause small dead spots, or even ruin your landscaping. While you can treat your lawn with pesticides, it is also helpful to make sure that you’re caring for your landscaping in a way that deters pests.

Mosquitos

The best way to control mosquitos in your landscaping is to treat or eliminate their breeding grounds. Mosquitos can breed even in small amounts of standing water, in places such as:

  • Ponds
  • Birdbaths
  • Ruts that hold water
  • Clogged downspouts and gutters
  • Planters and saucers

A mosquito on a hand close up in Gainesville landscapeMosquitos generally prefer water that is less than two feet in depth. Landscaping ponds are a beautiful addition to your yard, but make sure that the levels are high enough or the water is flowing well, to discourage mosquito breeding. You can also treat landscaping features with mosquito bits monthly to eliminate the possibility of breeding.

Mostly, mosquitos can be kept at bay by maintaining a tidy yard. Keep grasses cut short, as mosquitos thrive in taller, unkempt foliage. Store wheelbarrows and buckets upside down, and take care when watering plants that water isn’t left standing in saucers or pots. If you have low spots in your lawn that consistently get filled with water throughout the rainy season, look at building them up to encourage proper draining.

Ticks

Close up of a tick on a piece of green plant in Gainesville landscapingLike with other pests, the best defense against ticks is a clean yard. Keep your grass cut fairly short, and be sure to keep your landscape free of leaf debris. Ticks like to hide in wooded areas, so maintain a three-foot spread of mulch between your yard and any areas like this will help you reduce exposure to ticks.

Ticks can also be carried in by animals coming into your yard. The CDC recommends that you use fences and strategic planting to ward off deer, raccoons, and strays as much as possible.

Chinch Bugs

While these pests are not so much a danger to humans as to your yard itself, they’re very common in Florida, and you’ll want to take care to avoid an infestation.

Excessive watering and fertilizing can lead to problems with chinch bugs. Using too much water and fertilizer can cause a thatched layer above the soil surface. This is a mat of roots, shoots, and stems that are prime ground for chinch bug feeding and breeding.

Chinch bugs have developed a resistance to many insecticides. You can use a contact insecticide or a systemic. Systemics are more effective as they target the bugs both directly and indirectly.

Conclusion

Mosquitos, chinch bugs, and ticks are harmful to people and landscaping, but you can control them. Keeping your yard clean, well-maintained, and free of bug breeding spots will help make sure that your home and your family are safe.

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