University of Florida

Insect Management: Chemical Control

Apply insecticides properly. Read and understand all directions on the container label regarding dosage rates, application information, and precautions. When a spray is applied for controlling insects, it is important to apply the insecticide in a large amount of water. The jar attachment to a garden hose is the suggested application device for lawns. The type that requires 15 to 20 gallons of water passing through the hose to empty the quart size jars is recommended. Put the amount of insecticide in the jar as directed on the label for 1000 square feet. Fill the jar the rest of the way with water. Spray the contents over 1000 square feet. To insure even coverage, spray back and forth across the measured area; then turn at right angles and spray back and forth across the same area.

When spraying for control of soil insects (mole crickets, white grubs and billbugs), the turf should be moist at the time of application. Immediately after spraying the insecticide, irrigate with about 1/2 inch water to leach the insecticide into the soil where the insects are feeding. For control of surface feeders (chinch bugs, lawn caterpillars, bermudagrass mites, grass scales and spittlebugs), do not irrigate after application.

Granular formulations for the recommended insecticides may be substituted for sprays in controlling chinch bugs, webworms, mole crickets, white grubs, or billbugs. If applied for soil insects (mole crickets, white grubs or billbugs), irrigate with about 3/4 inch of water immediately after applying.

To help prevent unnecessary environmental contamination and reduction of beneficial insects, spot treatments can be applied when infestations are first noticed and the damaged area is small. Treat the off-color area and about a 10-foot buffer area surrounding it. If damage is widespread over the yard or if many infested areas are detected, the entire yard should be treated. Inspect the area two to three times at biweekly intervals to determine if infestation is under control.

If a bait is used for mole crickets, irrigate before application, but do not irrigate after applying the bait. Apply late in the afternoon or in early evening. It is very important to scatter the bait evenly over the soil surface. A few particles should fall on every square inch of the infested area.


Insecticides are poisons and should be handled as such. Read the manufacturer's label carefully before opening the container and observe all instructions and precautions. Wear rubber gloves when handling and applying insecticides. Do not spill sprays on skin or clothing. Do not breathe mists or fumes. Wash exposed parts of the body with soap and water immediately after using insecticides.

Store pesticides locked up in original labeled containers, and out of reach of children. Rinse empty containers and put rinse water in spray tank. To dispose of the empty container (1 gallon or smaller), wrap in newspaper, crush or puncture to prevent reuse, and put in garbage can for disposal in an approved sanitary landfill.

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