Foundation sprays, beetles and lawn diseases
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[August 11, 2008]
If you have been following a foundation spray
program all year, keep it up. If you haven't been, it is probably
time to start. The foundation spray program is your first line of
defense against nuisance pests in the house. It cuts down on
crickets, millipedes, spiders, ants and many others that find their
To accomplish a foundation spray, you would select a
material such as permethrin or bifenthrin to begin with. Then
spray the foundation and the adjacent foot or two of soil or
plant material with the spray mixture. Both these products are
cleared on most types of plants. Foundation treatments should be
applied every seven to 15 days, depending on the temperatures.
The materials break down quicker in hot weather.
treatments won't prevent everything from getting in the house,
and they certainly won't kill things already in the house. For
insects already in the house, you have a few options. The first
is mechanical control. This is fancy language for something like
a flyswatter, shoe, vacuum cleaner, flypaper or glue boards. The
next is chemical control. This basically means aerosol cans
inside the house. The most common ones are for flying insects or
ants, although many of the flying insect killers now have
permethrin in them and can last quite a while.
We are still experiencing a large number of beetles in the
garden. This includes not only the Japanese beetles, but also
the recently emerged western corn rootworm beetles. These small
black-and-yellow striped beetles are of concern around
cucumbers, melons and pumpkins since they can carry a wilt
It is a good idea to treat your vining crops with Sevin,
permethrin or bifenthrin on a weekly basis. It is important
concentrate on the new runners to help prevent damage from
squash vine borers.
The numbers of Japanese beetles seem to be declining
somewhat. Of course there are still plenty in many areas, but
the population should continue to decline until the last of them
are finished off by frost. As favored food sources are consumed,
less likely plants may be attacked. This may mean a recheck of
things around the landscape. I've recently seen them on
marigolds and some limited feeding on red maples. These plants
are in the less preferred categories.
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It has been a banner year for diseases in many
plants. The lawns are starting to show some of the diseases as well.
Conditions have been ideal for many of the fungi that cause us
problems. Humidity makes an ideal environment for many diseases, but
there are some that like drier conditions. Dollar spot, brown spot
and rust have been noted in area lawns.
There are treatments available for diseases in home
lawns, but they can be rather expensive and time-consuming.
Treatments would be applied on a seven- to 14-day basis throughout
the season. It isn't recommended for homeowners to treat diseases in
the lawn. The recommendation is let nature take its course and then
do some reseeding if needed.
The disease needs a susceptible host, the right
environment and time to cause us problems. If you do some reseeding,
use a newer variety with good disease resistance. This attacks the
susceptible host part. Also, keep your turf growing well to prevent
weakened grass plants from being more susceptible. The diseases will
only be present during certain weather, and as the weather changes
the diseases will go away.
University of Illinois Extension, Logan County]