Lawn care and pest control.

Last year i asked for some assistance with organic lawn care. Turns out I didn’t do any last year because I knew that I was leaving the house that I had been in. Well, I am now in my new house and I have some lawn issues. The weeds are insane, I spent a couple of hours pulling some weed yesterday and there were some that were on the verge of developing stone tools.

That isn’t the big issue AFAIC, I can pull the weeds and I have an organic weed 'n feed coming from Gardens Alive. What I did notice on the weekend were lots of spiders and a decent number of crickets (or cricket like critters) living in the grass. I don’t really want the spiders around as I don’t want them in the house or biting me or my dog. I don’t really want the crickets around either as a few crickets becomes a lot of crickets in short order.

First, am I mistaken in my desire to get rid of the insects? Are there good reasons to let them stay in the lawn?

Second, if I do want to get rid of them, what is the most environmentally benign way to do so?

Disclaimer: IANA lawn care expert, just a sometime gardener.

First, it would help if we had a general location, because you need to figure out what kind of spiders and crickets they are. Are they “regular” crickets, or are they mole crickets or some other kind of Florida/SoCal/Oz weirdo ( :smiley: ) crickets? In my yard, here in Central Illinois, large numbers of black shiny “regular” crickets only appear in August and September, and they are not considered inimical to good lawn care. So obviously, you’re writing to us from somewhere besides the American Midwest.

Are they actually “spiders” or are they daddy-long-legs?

If they’re actually spiders, then generally speaking, if you see lots of spiders in one place, that’s because they’re there eating something, being predators, and if ya wanna get rid of the spiders, you have to figure out whatever it is they’re eating and get rid of that. However, also generally speaking, once the spiders have decimated the local population of whatever-it-is to a low enough level, there won’t be enough prey to support the spider population, and most of them will move on. It’s like seabirds feeding on a flock of baitfish at the surface–when the school of fish moves on, so do the birds.

Unless the spiders are actively poisonous (funnelweb?) and you’ve got a barefooted toddler running around in your yard, and especially since you’re wanting to go presumably pesticide-free, I’d just leave the spider situation alone, wait for things to shake out normally.

It’s also possible that the spiders are preying on the crickets, and if you go around your yard stomping on spiders, you’ll have four times as many crickets as you do now.

Unless you find out that the “cricket-like creatures” are something that’s actually feeding on your grass roots, or are poisonous, I’d leave them be, too. It’s normal to have “bugs” in the lawn, ya know. You’d be surprised what goes on down there when you’re not looking. :smiley:

I live in Austin TX. The crickets that I did see were black and shiney. The spiders appeared to be all over the lawn. If they are the spiders that I have seen before, they will make an effort to get inside the house - not to mention one of them (at the old house) was the largest spider that I have ever seen that wasn’t a tarantual or under glass.

I realize that some bugs are normal, and I think I’m okay, but I am worried about my dog. I hate to look at him out in the yard and see him chewing on presumably crickets and spiders.

I am a lawn care professional, and I’m licensed to work with pesticides for lawns, trees and ornamental plants. I don’t know of an environmentally benign way to reliably eliminate crickets and spiders.

You are concerned that the bugs will get into the house. Can I assume they are not already in the house in annoyingly large numbers? If that’s true, was the house fumigated recently? If not, perhaps they won’t.

Get a birdfeeder or two. Perhaps you can attract birds which will also eat some bugs.

I’ll second what Duck Duck Goose said.

There are no bugs in the house. It is brand new (well, finished construction in October) but I just moved in last week.

They are real spiders and not daddy long legs. I do like the idea of a bird feeder, but I don’t know what kind of action it will get with Goliath anxiously awaiting every avian visiter in order to chase them away.

I’d just wait for that cricket infestation to end. I spent a couple years in central Texas, the first spring we were covered with crickets, literally. They coated the sides of buildings completely black. The next spring there were only a few crickets. I was told by some locals that it was a cyclical thing, that every few years there was a cricket infestation and due to the numbers they were impossible to control.

There is nothing like the smell of thousands of dead and decaying crickets.

…in the morning.
[/Robert Duvall]

Austin, Texas, eh? You are in luck–we here in the Yewnited States have a little-known tax-supported thingie called the County Extension Service. It was originally intended to dispense conservation and general ag advice to farmers, but they also give home, lawn, and garden advice to civilians. All free of charge.

About us.

Contact us.

Call them and ask them about your bugs. You can even capture one in a Tupperware container and take it down there and they will identify it for you.

P.S. If you have a dog that will eat bugs, can I borrow him? Or rent him, or something? 'Cause I’ve got these big roaches in my basement…

Seriously, I have a beagle mix who in her time has eaten hot-melt glue sticks, an azalea bush, and a Streetfightin’ Robin, but I have yet to see her eat a bug. Even she has her standards. I wouldn’t worry too much about Pooch.