Billbugs are weevils, also called snout beetles. They invade high-cut turfgrasses to lay eggs. Adults are 1/4″ to 3/8″ in length with thick black or gray bodies. The adults move slowly, and can sometimes be seen strolling along the walkway on a hot day. It might even play dead if disturbed! Larvae are grub-shaped and don’t have legs. They reach up to 1/2″ in length, sometimes causing them to be confused with grubs (which have legs).
Signs of a Billbug Infestation
Billbugs cause the most damage to your turf during the larval stage, burrowing down through the grass stem toward the crown and roots. This is particularly devastating for your grass during times of drought, and you can expect the beetle to completely kill areas of your turf.
At first, the damage might seem like molting or thinning of your lawn, almost drought-like symptoms. If left untreated, severe infestations will result in extensive browning and death.
If you’d like to identify billbugs as the culprit of your failing grass, simply tug at the blades; if the stalks break off easily at ground level and the stems are hollow, this beetle is likely the cause.
What Causes a Billbug Infestation?
Adult females look for a safe place to lay her eggs with an abundance of food. Your healthy lawn is just the place! She inserts one to three eggs in a feeding hole made in grass stems. They live and feed in different grass stems for four or five molts before they become too big to fit, which is when they drop out and feed on the grass crowns or roots.
How Can You Get Rid of Billbugs?
Billbugs can be difficult to control because the adults have armor-like bodies that don’t absorb insecticides well. If you do choose to go with the insecticide method, attacking spring adults is the easiest route, and follow the manufacturer’s directions.
You can even purposefully introduce a fungal disease, beauveria. While it doesn’t make a significant impact, it has been shown to aid your other methods.
You can also call Shades of Green Lawn & Landscape. We know how to get your lawn to a healthy state where it can grow abundantly without the threat of pests. Call us today at 765-771-9998 for more information about our pest control services and for a free quote.
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