Pasture Insect Control
Associate Extension Entomologist
Probably the most important pests of pastL
grasses in Florida are spittlebugs, aphids, and cat
pillars. Other insects may become important at c
tain times in localized areas. This circular covers soi
of these pests, recommending the best current cc
trols considering, of course, the insecticide resid
Aphids-The yellow sugarcane aphid (Figure 1:
a major pest of pangolagrass. It is a potential threat
all areas growing pangolagrass but is of greatest i:
portance in central and southern Florida. The gref
bug (also an aphid) is found in most areas, but unli
the yellow sugarcane aphid, it is highly parasitiz
and frequently controlled by natural enemies.
Armyworms-(Fall, southern, stripe
others).-These caterpillars or "worms" are the ii
mature stages of grayish-brown moths. Females 1
their eggs on the lower leaves of grasses and the larv
begin to feed as soon as they hatch. Because th
often move in large numbers from one area to anotl
in search of food, they are called armyworms. Usua
only one damaging generation occurs per year. F
successful control and to prevent extensive dama
treatment must be made when the worms are smE
The almost mature larvae (1 to 11/2 inches) are d
ficult to control.
Grassworms or Striped Grass Loope
(several kinds)-these caterpillars, when full grove
are longer and more slender than the armywon
discussed earlier. They move in a looping manner
humping their bodies. Striped grass loopers (Figure
are especially fond of pangola and para grasses. Th
color varies from cream to blue-gray to brown, bla
or orange. Large black and white spots appear wh
Spittlebugs-Spittlebugs have caused damage
to pastures in some areas of Florida. Adults, as
well as nymphs, damage plants by sucking plant
sap. The adult spittlebug is about 3/%-inch long,
and is dark brown to black, with two orange-red
lines across its wings (Figure 3). The presence
of immatures or nymphs is easily determined be-
cause they are covered with a mass of froth or
spittle-like material (Figure 3). The spittlebug
nymph is shown in Figure 4.
whitee spots appear when the body of the
s fully extended. In addition to this colora-
rassworms have a light narrow stripe along
ddle of the back the full length of the body.
ir 1 arvae are often overlooked.
PASTURE INSECT CONTROL CHART
!ct Material Amount/Acre Restrictions and Remarks
lids 15% parathion WP or 1-2 lbs. The amount of insecticide per acre varies
several Species 1% parathion dust or 20-30 lbs. with the height and density of the grass.
5% malathion dust or 20-30 -Ibs. DO NOT apply parathion within 7 days, or
25% malathion WP or 2-4 lbs. TEPP within 2 days, or phosdrin within
25% phosdrin EC or 1-2 pts. 1 day of grazing by dairy or beef animals.
2% phosdrin dust 15-25 lbs. No waiting period for malathion.
ay-vworms 10% toxaphene dust or 15-20 lbs. DO NOT graze dairy cattle on toxaphene
rrass loopers 40% toxaphene WP or 3-4 lbs. treated pastures. Allow at least 7 days
Other caterpillars 5% Sevin dust or 20-30 lbs. between applications of toxaphene and
80% Sevin sprayable or 1/-2 lbs. grazing by beef animals. DO NOT apply
2% phosdrin dust or 20-25 lbs. toxaphene to forage to be sold commer-
25% phosdrin EC or 1 quart cially or shipped interstate. DO NOT apply
2% parathion dust or 15-20 lbs. parathion within 7 days or phosdrin within
15% parathion WP 2 lbs. 1 day of grazing by dairy or beef animals.
There is no time limitation for grass
treated with Sevin or malathion for dairy
or beef animals.
ttlebugs Same as for Army Worms See Discussion in Text
der- mites Demeton (Systox) 2 EC or %-1 pint Minimum interval between last application
oin clover) 15% parathion WP or 1-2 lbs. of demeton and harvest or grazing should
1% parathion dust 20-30 lbs. be 21 days. DO NOT apply parathion with-
in 7 days of grazing dairy or beef animals.
Le -crickets 5% toxaphene bait 20-30 1bs. Do not graze dairy cattle. Use only once
per season. Allow at least 7 days between
application and grazing by beef animals.
= Wettable powder
= Emulsifiable concentrate
Tests for control have been limited, but toxa-
phene, Sevin or phosdrin should result in a good
kill of these pests when applied to grass short
enough for the insecticide to get down to where
insects are feeding. Insecticides have not given
effective control where the grass has been allowed
to grow tall and become densely matted. Burning
off the dense mat of dry grass in late February
or early March has been suggested for control of
spittlebugs in Coastal bermuda pastures in the
central and northern areas of the state. If the
pasture contains clover, it can be burned late in
Recent observations suggest that mowing or
grazing often enough to keep down the dense mat
will reduce the spittlebug problem. The dense
mat retains moisture which is needed for spittle-
Spider mites (on clover)-Spider mites cause
damage to clover pastures in some areas and re-
quire control measures. Research has shown
demeton (Systox) at /2 to 1 pint per acre of the
emulsifiable concentrate (containing 2 lbs. active
ingredient per gallon) to be the most effective.
Minimum interval between last application and
harvest or grazing should be 21 days. Two appli-
cations of parathion 1 to 2 weeks apart (as for
aphids on control chart) can be used for controll-
ing mites on clover. Note the restrictions for
parathion in the control chart.
Mole crickets-At least two species of these
odd looking crickets, the Changa and the South-
ern mole-cricket, are the most widespread and
destructive to pastures in Florida (figure 5).
These brownish crickets are covered with very
fine hair and have flattened, shovel-like front
legs. They usually grow to 11/I inches in length.
/' \ /
r V If
FIGURE 5. Most common molecrickets. Change (left), Southern
Appreciation is expressed to various research sc
of the Institute of Food and Agricultural Scien
information included in this publication. Apprecii
also expressed to E. W. Beck, Entomology R
Division A.R.S., Tifton, Georgia, for the spittlebug
graphs used in this publication.
The use of trade names in this publication is so:
the purpose of providing specific information. It
a guarantee or warranty of the products named, a:
not signify that they are approved to the exclu
others of a suitable composition.
FIGURE 6. Mole-like burrows made by mole crickets.
Mole crickets make burrows resembling tiny
mole tunnels in the soil (figure 6). The burrow-
ing loosens the soil and the crickets disturb and
cut off grass roots.
In the spring the adult female places 30 or
more eggs in each of 3 or 4 underground cells.
Eggs hatch in 1 to 2 weeks during warm weather.
The crickets become adults by fall. There is
one generation per year.
Insect infestations in pastures usually start in
small, isolated areas. Make frequent inspections
and spot treat before infestations become wide-
spread. This practice not only saves insecticide,
but also prevents extensive injury to the grass
and reduces the residue problem. Recommended
materials are listed in the Insect Control Chart.
The use of insecticides not recommended, or in
dosages greater than those recommended, may
result in insecticide residues in excess of legal
4,-p..oQ If the dosages recommended in the
chart are exceeded, the minimum time between
last application and harvest or grazing specified
in the chart is not applicable and a longer inter-
val should be allowed.
Insecticides are poisonous to man and animals
and should be handled according to the pre-
cautions given on the label. Parathion, demeton
(Systox), and phosdrin are especially toxic.
Remember, always use recommended insecti-
sides according to label directions and tolerance
restrictions. Read the insecticide label carefully
and completely before opening the container, and
observe all precautions. Do not contaminate feed
and water. Store insecticides in the original
labeled containers out of reach of children, pets,
and livestock, and away from food or feed. Dis-
pose of empty containers promptly and safely.
COOPERATIVE EXTENSION WORK IN AGRICULTURE AND HOME ECONOMICS
(Act ofMay 8 andJune 30, 1914)
Cooperative Extension Servce, IFAS, Universty of Flonda
and Unted States Depatment of Agiculture, Cooperating
Joe N. Busby, Dean