Your lawn can harbor a multitude of insects – and not all of them are bad. They like to shelter from the sun in summer, and when windy, the grass stops them from being blown around.
But our lawn should be a place where you can relax and where your children can play, and your pets roam freely. To find the best lawn insecticide that is both safe and effective can be bewildering as there is a vast range on offer.
We have put together five top products and made a recommendation for the best lawn insecticide.
- Bonide Insect/Grub Killer
- Spectracide, Triazicide Insect Killer for Lawns
- Ortho Bug B Gon Max Insect Killer for Lawns
- Cutter Backyard Bug Control Spray
- EcoSmart Insect Killer Granules
What pests are likely to be hiding in my lawn?
Numerous pests might be lurking in your lawn or just below the surface. These include grubs, caterpillars, ants as well as snails and slugs. They provide a feast for wildlife, and that can cause further damage to your lawn.
The name “white grub” refers to many species of beetle larvae. They are C-shaped and cause patches of dry, brown grass as they destroy the roots. You can peel back the area infested and count the number of rubs residing there to give you an idea of the severity of your problem. More than five – and you need to act.
Ants are busy tunneling away beneath your lawn in Summertime. You see mounds that can be quite a size – challenging to mow. In addition, the ants cut out the roots of the grass to excavate their tunnels.
Chafer bugs are common and hatch out in May-June. The grub or larva eats the roots of your grass, and if there are too many, they will cause patches of drying out in your lawn.
Some people confuse them with leather jackets, but they are quite different once you have seen them. The adult beetles are harmless – but the grubs can cause dryness, and you can see the grubs just below the ground level.
Crane-fly and Leather Jackets
The adult crane fly causes no problem to your lawn – it is the larvae or leather jackets doing the damage. You may see dry patches and find them just below the surface. They are 2-3 cms long and make a tasty treat for birds, foxes, or other wildlife, which can further damage your lawn.
These make irregular damaged areas to your lawn, and you will find C-shaped grubs about 3/8 inch long. They have red heads and no legs.
The night feeder. Not a worm, but a hairless caterpillar that cuts grass near the roots.
Fiery skippers are a green-grey, one-inch long caterpillar with a black head. You will see brown spots on your lawn, and if you have a heavy infestation, these can coalesce.
Japanese Beetle Grubs
These C-shaped, white larvae are about an inch long with easily seen legs. You might notice brown, spongy patches on your lawn.
Common in the southern USA, they burrow through the soil, eating grass and roots. They are light brown and about one and ¼ inches long.
These pests eat foliage, so you see bare or brown patches on your lawn. The webworms are only ¾ inch long, with cream bodies and a double row of spots with small bristles.
What can I put on my lawn to kill bugs?
Insecticides usually come in either granules or sprays. Less commonly, dust is available. Always read the manufacturer’s instructions.
How to use the insecticide granules
Granules have to spread over the area being treated – and if this large, you will need a spreader to apply an even layer. After you have finished, you should sweep away any errant granules and then water the granules into the lawn. Dampening the granules helps to release the active ingredients so they can get to work.
You have to wait until the area is entirely dry before allowing pets or children onto the lawn.
How to use the insecticide spray
The spray usually comes as a concentrate that needs to be diluted with water. The label will tell you how much dilution is required. Sometimes there is a special device on the bottle that attaches to the hosepipe and does it automatically. Sometimes you need to buy a specialized sprayer.
What type of lawn insect pesticide should I choose?
These are the factors that will influence your choice of the best insecticide:
The size of the area to be treated
For spot treatments, you are probably better off using granules. However, if you have a large grass area, then a liquid may be easier to administer because you can use a sprayer. Using a spreader for granules takes a lot more energy, but they come ready to use.
Safety and ecology
Insecticides may not be specific in targeting only the pests. Your children and pets must be your prime concern, so it is essential to read the instructions and follow them.
If ecology is crucial in your decision, then the best insecticide for you might be a natural product such as essential oils, but even these might be toxic to cats. Or use an EcoSmart product specially designed to be eco-friendly.
The typical active ingredients in a chemical pesticide:
Imidacloprid targets the insect’s nervous system and kills them quickly. It is very toxic to bees but less so to birds, mammals, and fish and is unlikely to harm your children or pets.
Cyhalothrin, Cyfluthrin, Bifenthrin and Cypermethrin
These hard-to-read chemicals are powerful contact killer insecticides. They kill many insects, including bees and aquatic creatures, are poisonous to humans, mammals, and aquatic creatures. It would be best if you avoid contact with the skin or eyes when using.
These include clove oil and thyme oil. Natural insecticides take longer to work and may not be 100% effective – but they are safer for children and pets. Despite being slightly safer, cats are very sensitive to them.
BONIDE PRODUCTS Inc 60365 Insect/Grub Killer
Fast-acting dual insecticide for grub control and more.No products found.
The Bonide granules are an effective pesticide and easy to use – use a spreader for even application. These granules contain imidacloprid which kills after ingestion, and Lamda Cyhalothrin kills on contact and is very fast-acting. It kills grubs and more than 40 other insect types above and below ground.
Once you have watered the granules and the ground is dry, it is safe for your children and pets. The granules are lightweight, and there is no residue or odor.
- Safe for kids and pets – once dry after watering in
- No residue or odor
- You will need a spreader
Spectracide HG-96744 Triazicide Insect Killer for Lawns
Very easy to use powerful insecticide spray.
Shake well and attach the bottle directly into the hose pipe – turn on the water, and the spray is ready for use. But it is very toxic to aquatic animals and should not be used near open water or drains. Once it is dry, it is perfectly safe for children and pets to play on the treated area – but it is dangerous if ingested – so keep small children well away!
This killer spray is long-lasting and very powerful – one of the best insecticides to get rid of all your pests – above and below ground.
- Ready to spray – easy to use
- Effective above and below ground
- Safe for kids and pets once dry
- No odor
- Toxic to aquatic life
- Avoid using near open water
Ortho Bug B Gon Max Insect Killer for Lawns
A very effective insecticide that lasts three months.
Use a spreader to apply the granules to all areas, and it’s best to water them in lightly afterward. Once the grass has dried thoroughly, it is deemed safe for children and animals, but make sure there are no traces left before you let them onto the area treated. It will get rid of the pests leaving behind no residue and no odor.
Like many pesticides, there are toxic effects on other creatures, and it is essential to dispose of the packaging with due care. However, you can store the unused part in a cool dark place out of reach of children or animals.
- Safe for children and pets once completely dry
- Good coverage
- Residue and odor-free
- Spreader needed
- Toxic to sea creatures
Cutter Backyard Bug Control Spray
Effective and easy to use insecticide spray.
Simple to use – attach the bottle to the hose and turn on the water. One of the best insecticides this spray will keep your lawn insect-free for the summer.
Although this is safe for children and animals once it has dried out, it may harm bees and butterflies. It is also toxic to sea creatures, and so it should not be used when it is raining, and the run-off must not be allowed to enter drains, sewers, rivers, or open water.
If there is a surplus, you can store the bottle in a dark, dry place out of reach of children and animals.
- Easy to use
- Effective throughout the summer
- Free from odor
- Safe for kids and pets
- Kills aquatic creatures
- Avoid using near water
- Care needed with run-off
EcoSMART Insect Killer Granules 10 lbs.
Best pesticide for the environment.
EcoSmart granules take a little time to work – although they are very effective after a short time. If you need a fast response, they may not be the best insecticide for you. But they are the least toxic and safe for other animals, including aquatic animals.
EcoSmart granules are safe. Safe for humans and safe for other animals – your garden’s bees, earthworms, and butterflies will not be harmed by this insecticide. If this is important for you, then this is the best lawn insecticide. It just takes a little longer to work. You may need to reapply every 4-6 weeks for optimum results.
While a spreader is the easiest way to treat your lawn, you can spread by hand, as long as you wear rubber gloves – it is best not to allow even this insecticide to come into contact with your skin, eyes, or mouth.
- The eco-friendly insecticide
- Organic and natural insecticide
- Safe for kids and pets
- Safe for aquatic creatures
- Can spread by hand wearing rubber gloves
- Not an instant killer
Your lawn is home to a great variety of insect life – and not all are harmful. However, sometimes they cause brown, dead patches of grass, and you need to find the best lawn insecticide to prevent severe damage.
No products found.
Our number one choice is the No products found.. It works fast and is very effective. It contains both imidacloprid which kills after ingestion, and Lamda Cyhalothrin, which unfortunately is toxic to bees. But for your children and pets, it is safe provided you follow the instructions. You do need a spreader if the area to be treated is large.
Some people prefer a spray – and if you have a large area to cover, then the Spectracide HG-96744 Triazicide Insect Killer for Lawns would be a perfect choice.
If safety and ecology are the most important considerations for you, then the best lawn insecticide would be the EcoSmart grub killer granules.
When should I apply insecticide to my lawn?
The ideal time to use your lawn insect killer is either the early morning or evening to prevent the sun from evaporating it, and that makes any pesticide less effective.
In what weather should I not apply insecticides to my lawn?
Too much sun can cause your pesticide to evaporate before it has the chance to get rid of the grubs. Too much rain can wash it away – and may also affect the run-off, allowing your insecticide to access water sources where it can harm aquatic creatures.
Should I mow the lawn before treating it with insecticide?
Yes, this is a good idea for two reasons. It disturbs beneficial insects like bees, ladybugs, and butterflies so they can escape while giving the pests fewer places to hide in your lawn.