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Foundation sprays, beetles and lawn diseases

By John Fulton

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[August 03, 2011]  Foundation sprays -- 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 way inside.

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.

Foundation treatments won't prevent everything from getting in the house and 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 fly swatter, 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 virus.

It is a good idea to treat your vining crops with Sevin, permethrin or bifenthrin on a weekly basis. It is important to 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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Lawn diseases

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 to 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 aspect. 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.

[By JOHN FULTON, University of Illinois Extension]


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