Protecting Pollinators in Your Lawn

Bumblebee

Bumblebee

Managed lawns, especially golf courses or other sport turf get insect damage that must be controlled. Homeowners who want a picture perfect lawn may treat as well. However, treatments that kill insect pests may also kill beneficial insects including pollinators. A group of scientists* have published recommendations for acceptable pest control that minimizes harm to pollinators. Some of the suggestions are:
Wait until after the early season pollinators get established before treating.
Consider using granular formulations of insecticides, to avoid contamination of flowering portions of plants in bloom.
Use grass varieties with pest resistance.
Maximize the mowing height. Taller grass has deeper root systems that better tolerate pest injury.
Consider using biological control agents that are specific to the pest insect
Establishing nearby plots of pollinator-friendly plants. Flowering plants on the borders can give the turf a more pleasing appearance while providing pollinators needed resources for growth and development.

Incorporating these practices may take more time and planning, especially at first, but the results can be beneficial to both pollinators and turf management.

*Jonathan L. Larson, Adam Dale, David Held, Benjamin McGraw, Douglas S. Richmond, Kyle Wickings, R. Chris Williamson; Optimizing Pest Management Practices to Conserve Pollinators in Turf Landscapes: Current Practices and Future Research Needs. J Integr Pest Manag 2017; 8 (1): 18.
doi: 10.1093/jipm/pmx012

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
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One Response to Protecting Pollinators in Your Lawn

  1. Pingback: Protecting Pollinators in Your Lawn – Entomo Planet

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