Protecting pollinators during home lawn grub control
The most widely used insecticides for grub infestations of lawns are neonicotinoid insecticides, which are toxic to pollinators if they are sprayed over flowers.
May 1, 2019 - Author: David Smitley, MSU Entomology; Diane Brown, Rebecca Finneran and Erwin Elsner, MSU Extension; Joy Landis, MSU IPM; Paula Shrewsbury, Univ. of MD Entomology; Daniel Herms, The Davey Tree Expert Company, Kent, OH; and Cristi L. Palmer, IR-4 Project-Rutgers
The most widely used insecticides for grub infestations of lawns are neonicotinoid insecticides, which are toxic to pollinators if they are sprayed over flowers. If lawns are mowed first to remove any weed flowers, or if there are no flowers in the lawn, it is unlikely that grub control products will be harmful to bees unless there is some spray drift onto flowers.
A recent study in Kentucky demonstrated that if lawns with clover were mowed to remove clover flowers just before insecticide application, there was no impact on bumble bees caged over the clover when it bloomed again a few weeks later. A widely-used insecticide for grub control, chlorantraniliprole, is safe for pollinators, even when applied to lawns with flowering weeds.
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