Best Lawn Insecticide for Common Yard Pests

You’ve worked hard on maintaining your lawn, and there’s nothing worse than watching tiny pests make a mess of all that lovely landscaping. While many insects are highly beneficial to a healthy lawn and garden, others can be detrimental.

In this case, you may be in the market for the best lawn insecticide. But with so many brands and products on the market, how do you know which insecticide would be right for you? Furthermore, what are the pros and cons of using a lawn insecticide, and are there organic options?

Today, we are going to answer all these questions and more. Let’s get started!

What Are The Most Common Yard Pests?

Pic 1 a grub
Grubs are not only one of the most common yard pests, but also one of the most damaging.

Before we dive into discussing the best lawn insecticide available, let’s first talk about the most common yard pests. It’s important to know which kind of pest you’re dealing with before investing in a lawn insecticide, as not all common yard pests can be taken care of with the same product.

White Grubs

White grubs are the larvae of any variety of scarab beetles. Adult beetles lay eggs below the surface of the turf, and the eggs then hatch to produce the larvae. The larvae live and grow below the surface of the grass, feasting on grass roots until they emerge to pupate.

Grubs spend as long as six months below the surface of your lawn, and are considered some of the most damaging yard pests for this very reason. In fact, large infestations of white grubs can contribute to an entirely eradicated yard.

Though grubs are a formidable foe, getting rid of them begins at the source. This means that, in order to control grubs, you must target the adult beetles.

Scarab Beetles

There are over 30,000 species of scarab beetles throughout the world, and these insects are defined by their oval bodies, hard exoskeletons, and six legs. The most common scarab beetles in the United States are also considered some of the most common yard pests, and they include the June Bug, the Asian Lady Beetle, the Japanese Beetle, Chafers, and Green June beetles.

These pests feast on plants, leaves and trees. In small numbers, scarab beetles are not too damaging to vegetation around the yard, and are most problematic when they choose your yard as a place to lay their eggs.

For this reason, controlling scarab beetles with the best lawn insecticide you can find is a sure fire way to reduce the chances of white grubs in the soil below your grass.

Sod Webworms

Sod Webworms are the larvae of turf moths, who are generally harmless in their adult form. Terf moths are small moths that you find fluttering around our yard, low to the ground, around dusk.

Like scarab beetles and their larvae, the real problem with these moths is when they choose your yard to lay their eggs. Sod Webworms live in the turf and feed on the grass, causing damage to lawns in large numbers.

Again, the best lawn insecticide should be enough to help eradicate these pests, especially when focus is put on the adult moth.

True Bugs

With around 80,000 species of true bugs in the world and 10,200 in the United States alone, it’s no surprise that some of the most common yard pests are simply just common insects. While insects are a symptom of a healthy lawn, too many insects can be detrimental and damaging.

Some of the most common insects you should watch out for include aphids, stink bugs, cicadas, and water bugs. These pests feed on plants and plant sap, though other true bugs feed on living or dead insects and decaying organic matter. In this aspect, many true bugs are very beneficial and important decomposers.

They can also help reduce pest problems in your yard and encourage new plant growth as well as healthier soil. That said, many true bugs can be problematic and require the best lawn insecticide to control them.

But how do you know for sure you’re dealing with yard pests and not a problem with your grass or soil?

Let’s find out.

Signs You Need The Best Lawn Insecticide

Pic 2 grass in the fall
Sometimes grass will not grow or show damage for reasons other than yard pests. 

Some lawn damage can resemble pest problems, but it’s important to know for sure. Your lawn and garden may be struggling to thrive for a number of reasons that go beyond pests, and if this is the case you will not need the best lawn insecticide.

Some common lawn issues, aside from pest problems, include an overgrowth of weeds, grass unable to grow due to shaded areas or slopes, overwatering, unhealthy soil, rust damage in the soil, moss growth, and even pet damage.

The video below talks more about the different types of lawn damage you might contend with and will give further advice on how to identify the problem for sure.

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Luckily, there are some telltale signs that you’re dealing with yard damage as a result of pest issues, which will thus require you to find the best lawn insecticide available.

Some of the most common signs your yard has been ravaged by pests include:

  • Brown spots in the lawn
  • Dead or dying grass in patches (in both sunny and shady spots)
  • Wilted grass blades and leaves
  • Deformed vegetation or flowers in the garden
  • Thin grass roots
  • Holes in the soil
  • And, of course, physical sightings of common lawn pests

Pros and Cons of Using The Best Lawn Insecticide

Pic 3 a child and dog playing outside
Though they can work effectively controlling yard pests, chemical insecticides can be harmful to children and pets. 

While we do understand that dealing with lawn pests is frustrating, it’s important to also remember that even the best lawn insecticide to manage them can have their pros and cons.

Before you decide which brand or product would be the best lawn insecticide for you and your pest problem, let’s talk about the good and bad about using insecticides at all.

Pros of Using Insecticides in the Lawn

  • Insecticides are a quick and effective way of controlling unwanted pests in the yard
  • They may improve the overall growth and health of plants and grass
  • Insecticides are affordable
  • Insecticides are often easy to use and apply
  • They often work for an extended period of time to protect your yard
  • When used properly, insecticides can improve and increase your yard’s health and ability to thrive
  • Some insecticides are available in organic or natural options

Cons of Using Insecticides in the Lawn

  • Insecticides can lead to soil contamination
  • Chemical insecticides can be harmful to the environment and toxic to people and pets
  • Some ingredients in insecticides are banned in certain regions
  • Insecticides can be dangerous to young children if not kept out of reach
  • Insecticides often contribute to groundwater pollution
  • Some insecticides can harm beneficial insects
  • Some insecticides may also harm plantlife, especially if not used as directed

The Best Lawn Insecticides That Use Chemicals

Pic 4 chemical insecticide
Chemical insecticides use synthetic ingredients to help kill and prevent certain yard pests. 

Now that we’ve covered the advantages and disadvantages of using the best lawn insecticide for your pest problems, let’s get to the products. We know that not every product is going to be right for every person or yard, so we have listed both chemical and natural insecticides for you to choose from below.

Before you decide which of the below products would be the best lawn insecticide for you, remember to consider the pests you are dealing with and your lifestyle. Natural, organic products are often the safest way to go when dealing with pests in yards where children and pets play.

Furthermore, natural insecticides are often the best lawn insecticides for a number of pests because they do not harm the environment or contribute to groundwater pollution.

That said, some serious pest issues may require a more intensive treatment of chemical insecticides. If this is the case, remember to use chemical insecticides only as directed and keep them out of reach of children.

Now, let’s take a look at the best lawn insecticides available that use chemicals.

Ortho Home Defense Lawn Insect Killer

First on our list of the best lawn insecticide is a product by Ortho. Ortho is a popular pest control brand that works well for a number of yard and garden pests. This insecticide uses granules to help remove and repel yard pests for up to three months. It works within minutes of application and covers up to 10,000 square feet.

The active ingredient in this insecticide is bifenthrin, which is a common insecticide that works well, though it may be harmful to people and pets if not used as directed. Be sure to read the instructions carefully and use this product only as specified.

Black Flag Extreme Lawn Insect Killer

Another insecticide we’ve included on our list of best lawn insecticide products is by Black Flag. This product comes in a ready-to-use spray container and works not only to kill and prevent common yard pests, but also as a preventative for fungus and lawn disease.

Once applied, this product is rain and water proof, and it works immediately upon application. This product will need to be applied once every two weeks during pest season for best results. Again, this is a chemical insecticide that should be used only as directed and kept out of reach of children and pests.

Spectracide Insect Killer For Lawns

If you’re looking for the best lawn insecticide for larger lawns and a wide variety of pest problems, then you’ll want to check out the above insecticide by Spectracide. This product can cover up to 25,000 square feet and kills over 100 different types of lawn pests.

The product begins working immediately upon application and continues to protect your lawn for the entire season. It is specifically designed to protect lawns and gardens from pests, and can even be used as a perimeter insecticide to keep pests from getting into your home. It works on grubs, cutworks, beetles, ants, and many more common yard pests.

Bonide Insect and Grub Control

One of the best lawn insecticide products for your yard is going to be an insecticide that targets grubs. Remember, white grubs are some of the most common and damaging lawn pests in the United States.

The above product by Bonine specifically targets grubs below the soil, but it can also work to control, kill and prevent other common yard pests. These granules are easy to apply and cover up to 7,500 square feet. The product also offers up to three months protection from some of the most common lawn and garden pests.

The Best Lawn Insecticide For Organic Gardeners

Pic 5 a child in his backyard
Organic insecticides are often the safest option for those with children and pets.

Using even the best lawn insecticide does come with risks, especially if the insecticide contains toxic chemicals. Luckily, there are natural products that can also work as yard insecticides, and work well.

Some of our favorites are listed below.

Trifecta Natural Crop Control

The above spray is one of the best lawn insecticides for those looking for a natural form of pest control. It not only helps eliminate common yard and garden pests, but can also help reduce fungus and mildew on plants and in yards.

This spray is ideal for spot treatment and comes in a 32 Oz spray container. You may also order a second 128 Oz refill for larger yards. This natural insecticide contains all natural ingredients including essential oils, and is safe to use on edible plants as well.

Wondercide Outdoor Pest Control

Wondercide is another one of the best lawn insecticide products as it is completely safe for people, pets and the environment. It works well against a number of common yard and garden pests and can even work to protect other types of pests from getting into your home.

This spray is designed for outdoor use and can come in different sizes depending on your needs. There is no wait time needed upon application, meaning you can spray it and still allow your children or pets to go outside.

St. Gabriel Organics Milky Spore Powder

Milky Spore is a popular organic insecticide and one of the best lawn insecticide products for organic gardeners dealing with grubs. This powder is safe for people, pets, and the environment and even works on pests without harming beneficial insects.

It is specifically designed to target grubs below the surface of the lawn, covering up to 2,500 square feet. When applied correctly, Milky Spore Powder can protect lawns for up to two decades.

EcoSmart Insect Killer Granules

Last on our list of best lawn insecticide products that are natural is by EcoSmart. These natural insect killing granules are made of essential oils like thyme oil, clove oil and wintergreen oil. This product controls a number of insects and helps increase the overall health of your lawn and yard.

However, while it is a safer product to use in areas where people and pets frequent, it should still be used only as directed and kept out of reach of children.

Alternatives To Using The Best Lawn Insecticide

Pic 6 garlic
Garlic and garlic powder can help repel common yard pests. 

If you’re not a fan of using even the best lawn insecticide products that are natural, don’t worry. There are other ways you can go about protecting your lawn from common yard pests. Take a look.

Essential Oils

Essential oils have long been used as a natural form of pest control because they work well and they work safely. The best essential oils to use alongside or in place of an insecticide include:

  • Peppermint Oil
  • Tea Tree Oil
  • Rosemary Oil
  • Cinnamon Oil
  • Clove Oil
  • Lavender Oil
  • Lemongrass Oil
  • And Citronella Oil

You can make your own essential oil pest control spray by combining two cups of water with 10 to 20 drops of the essential oil of your choice above into a spray bottle. Shake the bottle to mix the concoction well, then spray this solution directly on plants and around the yard.

However, keep in mind that some essential oils can be harmful to certain plants. Before using essential oils as a form of pest control for your yard, it’s important to do a bit of research to ensure the species of plant you are spraying the oil on will not be harmed.

Garlic and Garlic Powder

Garlic is a strong smelling vegetable that is easy to find in most grocery stores. It’s not only delightful in Italian dishes, but it makes for a great pest control option for yards. Simply sprinkle freshly diced garlic or garlic powder around patches of grass where you notice pest issues and repeat as needed.

This will not only help remove the current pests causing the problem to your grass, but it can even prevent future pests from coming around.

However, please note that fresh garlic can be especially toxic to dogs if ingested. We do not recommend you use this method if you have pets that frequent your yard.

DIY Shampoo Bug Spray

You can also make your own lawn insecticide using baby shampoo and cooking oil. This mixture is a safe alternative to chemical insecticides and works on a number of common yard pests.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Gallon of water
  • 2 Tbsp baby shampoo
  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 Large container (for mixing)
  • 1 Spray Bottle

Directions:

Combine the above ingredients in a large bowl or bucket and mix thoroughly. Then add what you can to a spray bottle to spray around your lawn and in problematic areas of your garden. This mixture will help deter a number of common yard pests safely including aphids, mealybugs, thrips and more.

Plant Repellent Plants 

While you likely won’t be planting pest-repellent plants directly in your lawn, simply planting a border of pest-repellent vegetation can help reduce the activity of adult pests like scarab beetles, moths and aphids.

Along with using the best lawn insecticide to control pests, you can also plant:

  • Sage
  • Citronella Grass
  • Lavender
  • Mint
  • Garlic
  • Chives
  • Lemon Balm
  • Geraniums
  • Tansy
  • Pennyroyal
  • Petunias
  • Marigolds
  • Catnip
  • Rosemary
  • Basil
  • Chrysanthemums
  • And More

If The Best Lawn Insecticide Doesn’t Work – When To Contact A Professional

Pic 7 a home and yard
Many professional landscapers and pest control experts have access to products that the general public do not, which can help alleviate serious backyard pest problems. 

If you’ve found that using even the best lawn insecticide isn’t working for you, it may be time to contact a professional. Professional landscapers usually charge between $100 and $300 for pest control, but this price can vary depending on your location, the size of your yard and the extent of your pest issue.

One of the benefits of going through a professional pest control expert to help manage yard pests is that they often have access to the best lawn insecticide products that the general public does not not. They may also be able to help you identify the source of your yard pest problem and assist you in further prevention techniques.

And speaking of prevention, let’s take a look at other ways to prevent yard pests in the future.

Tips On Preventing A Future Pests In Your Yard

Pic 8 a lawn mower
Avoid mowing your lawn too short, as it can make your grass more susceptible to pests.

Along with using the best lawn insecticide to protect your yard and garden from pests, it’s also a good idea to practice preventative techniques to keep them from returning. We have listed some of the best ways to prevent future yard pests below.

Grow Grass That Is Local To Your Region

Choosing grass that is more likely to thrive in your region will not only help reduce the amount of pests in your yard, but make caring for your yard much easier and less expensive. If you’re unsure of where to look for the right type of grass or grass seed, you can always contact a local nursery for help.

Refrain From Overwatering Your Lawn

Overwatering your lawn does more damage than good and can even attract certain pests to your yard. Try and maintain a schedule and keep track of how often you are watering.

When you do water your lawn, ensure you water it deeply. However, do not water too frequently. Different types of grass require different watering schedules and maintenance, so speak with your local nursery or do research on the type of grass you are growing to learn about the appropriate watering schedule.

Make Sure To Apply Enough Fertilizer During The Appropriate Times

Keeping your lawn healthy by fertilizing it during the appropriate times will not only help your lawn to thrive and stay healthy, but it will also help to eliminate common yard pests. Make sure you follow the directions on the fertilizer you use so you know you are applying it correctly.

Keep Up With Annual Aeration

Properly aerating your lawn will not only encourage healthier soil and plant growth, but it will reduce the chances of pest issues below the surface of your turf. This is especially true if your lawn has a dense buildup of thatch, which can be alleviated by aerating.

Do Not Mow Your Lawn Too Short

Ideally, only remove about 1/3 rd of an inch of the grass in your yard during mowing. Mowing the lawn too short provides too much sunlight to the soil, which can stress the lawn and make it more vulnerable to pests.

Plant Pest-Repellent Plants Around Your Yard’s Border 

Keep in mind that many yard pests are grubs, and these grubs are brought in by their adult counterparts who feast on the vegetation around your lawn.

To help reduce these adult pests like scarab beetles and moths, and even other common garden pests like aphids, you can plant the insect-repellent plants we listed above including lavender, marigolds, basil, catnip, mint, rosemary, garlic, lemongrass, chrysanthemums, citronella grass, sage, penuias,kenib bakm geraniums, peppermint, nasturtiums, chives, pennyroyal and more.

And remember, when using the best lawn insecticide in conjunction with proper lawn care, you should be able to minimize and control common yard pests for good.

We hope this has been a helpful guide on how to choose the best lawn insecticide for your yard, and that you now feel equipped to take on these common pests with confidence.

Thanks for reading and happy gardening!

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