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Pesticides, Pollinators and Turfgrass
New Pest Management Guide Available for Turfgrass Managers


Researchers from seven universities collaborated following the 2016 National Turfgrass Entomology Workshop to publish a guide to pesticide use on turfgrass with regards to pollinator health. Read the full report in the Journal of Integrated Pest Management at

While turfgrass usually isn't what most people think of when they consider pollinators, the pesticides that are used on turf may have an impact on pollinator health. Neonicotinoids, which are known to have a negative impact on bees and other pollinators, are widely used on turfgrass to manage pests. Additionally, turfgrass is often home to flowering weeds that may attract pollinators, or might be located near flowering ornamentals.

A group of turfgrass entomologists, research and extension personnel, and integrated pest management practitioners worked together to review existing scientific literature regarding neonicotinoids in turfgrass, develop best management practices for mitigating risk and enhancing pollinator habitats and health, and prioritize future research needs.

The result was "Optimizing Pest Management Practices to Conserve Pollinators in Turf Landscapes: Current Practices and Future Needs," published this week in the Journal of Integrated Pest Management.

The researchers recommend that whenever possible, turfgrass areas should be mowed before pesticides are applied to prevent flowering weeds that might attract pollinators from being contaminated with pesticides. Based on past studies, they suggest using a granular application instead of a liquid spray, as granular applications have been shown to have a reduced risk to pollinators.

In addition to recommendations on best uses of pesticides, the study offers up suggestions for increasing and preserving pollinator habitat as well as what research is needed to better understand the issues.

The study concludes that while pesticides are effective for meeting the public demand of manicured lawns, the industry must use them properly or risk them being banned from use. "Public perception that insecticides are the sole driver of pollinator decline has driven some decision makers to already being phasing out insecticides for turfgrass use," the study says. "The green industry must be sure its methods are effective against pests but also defensible with university-generated data."

Read the full report at

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August 26, 2019, 1:24 am PDT

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