Managing Yard Pests Responsibly
(See pages 39-47 in FY&N Handbook)

t is unrealistic, and even unwise, to strive for an insect-, disease- and weed-free yard.  Many insects are beneficial, helping to keep pests under natural control.  Many other insects simply coexist with humans causing us no harm.

IPM -- Integrated Pest Management

Communities and individuals are successfully managing pests by protecting beneficials and reducing the use of pesticides.  By definition, pests include insects, diseases (such as viruses) and weeds.  It is easy to practice IPM in your yard. 

1st  Check your lawn and plant beds regularly for pest problems.

2nd  Identify the problem.  Know the good from the bad.  Is it a chinch bug or a big-eyed bug? It makes a difference. Big-eyed bugs eat chinch bugs.

3rd  When appropriate, first try non- chemical approaches and least toxic pesticides such as insecticidal soaps, horticultural oils and Bt products.

4th Spot treat.  If chinch bugs or weeds are the problem, don't treat the entire lawn - only the affected area.  If one out of ten shrubs have scale, treat only the infested plant.

5th  Be tolerant!  Low levels of pests will do minimal damage to plants and many are a source of food for beneficials.

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Meet some of the "Good Guys."  Help protect these beneficial insects -- so they can naturally keep pests under control.

lady beetle (larva) lady beetle assassin bug
green lacewing (larva) green lacewing big-eyed bug
earwig syrphid fly syrphid fly (larva)

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6th
The label is the law?  Read pesticide labels carefully for information on using pesticides and disposing of left-over chemicals and containers.

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FLORIDA YARD ACTIONS
Check plants regularly.  Walk around your yard every week and observe your plants and lawn for signs of problems.
Credit:  2 inches
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Avoid routine applications of pesticides.  Treat only affected areas rather than spraying your entire lawn or yard.  (Require that your maintenance company follow these strategies.)
Credit:  3 inches
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Know five beneficial insects that provide natural control of harmful pests.
Credit:  2 inches
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Use environmentally- friendly pesticides such as horticultural oils, Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) and insecticidal soaps.  These effective, safe materials can control most plant pests. 
Credit: 2 inches
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Wherever possible use non- chemical approaches to pest control, such as pruning off affected areas, hand-removing insects, etc. 
Credit:  3 inches

_____Total inches
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Table of Contents Introduction What is A Florida Yard? Right Plant, Right Place Water Efficiently Maximize Mulch
Recycle Yard Waste Fertilize Appropriately Manage Yard Pests Responsibly Reduce Stormwater Runoff Provide for Wildlife On the Waterfront
Return to Florida Yardstick Workbook Return to FYN Publications