THE GREEN THUMB ALMANAC 

Your Online Gardening Information Center

Gardening Forums

Post Reply
Forum Home > Got Bugs? > Fireants and Grubs!

Yanagibashi
Member
Posts: 2

I have both.  They're running wild in my yard.  I need to get rid of them but I don't really enjoy the idea of pouring massive amounts of poison all over my yard.  Are there any more eco-friendly ways of encouraging these pests to move on?

August 29, 2012 at 8:03 PM Flag Quote & Reply

The Green Thumb Almanac
Site Owner
Posts: 14

Hello, you are wise to be concerned about the use of broad spectrum pesticides in your situation.  First, let's address the fire ant problem.  There are 3 native species and one imported species of fire ant in Texas.  It has been shown that native ant populations actually help to slow the spread of the imported fire ant.  When broad spectrum pesticides are used they kill both the native and imported ant populations.  Without competition the imported fire ant then can spread more quickly.  I would recommend the use of Spinosad as an "organic" control for the imported fire ant.  Spinosad is a natural product produced from soil microbes and is OMRI (Organic Material Review Institute) listed. 

To read more about fire ants and how to control them in Texas I recommend the following links: 

Texas A& M   http://fireant.tamu.edu/

The University of Texas fire ant FAQ  http://uts.cc.utexas.edu/~gilbert/research/fireants/faq.html

Now for your grub problem.  There are several species of beetles whose larva we call "grubs."  However, the control for each is very much the same.  Organic controls for grub infestations are generally not as effective as non-organic controls.  Organic controls also can take several years to become established in your yard for you to see any effect.  Two organic approaches are predator nematodes and milky-spore disease.  Both of these can be purchased easily at most garden centers or on the internet.  A more effective control would be the use of a non-organic pesticide.  There are two that work well on grubs.  As a preventative I recommend the use of Merit early in the year.  As a curative control for existing populations I would recommend the use of Dylox.  This is the perfect time of year, in your area, to apply a curative application of Dylox.  You can apply Dylox now through October in Texas.  In October and November the grub will begin to bury themselves deeper in your soil to over winter.  Now is a good time to use Dylox while they are still actively feeding.

If you have any additional questions please contact your county agricultural extension agent.  Your county agricultural extension service can be found at: http://austin.agrilife.org/

For insect problems e-mail:  Wizzie Brown, County Extension Program Specialist - Integrated Pest Management.  Her e-mail address is:  EBrown@ag.tamu.edu  Wizzie's expertise is in fire ant research...so you are in luck!

September 2, 2012 at 9:35 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Yanagibashi
Member
Posts: 2

Thanks!  I've seen nematodes in my favorite local garden stores and I'll ask about the milky spore disease.  I'll definitely check out the Dylox too because just as I get new grass growing, it dies again.  I think those grubs must like new greens better than established ones. 

September 6, 2012 at 10:26 PM Flag Quote & Reply

You must login to post.