Damages from billbugs can resemble drought/lack of watering, with irregular patches of dry grass. Some people may think the dry looking lawn isn’t getting enough water and will continue to water more, however, the damaged lawn will not respond to the extra watering. Adult Bluegrass Billbugs are gray, brown, or black with a curved snout and a hard body that is about 3/16″ (5 mm) in size. They overwinter in the soil mostly as adults. In the spring when the temperatures are starting to rise, the adult billbugs can often be seen walking on patios and sidewalks around May –mid June. Lawn damage from an adult billbug usually consists of holes in blades of grass caused by chewing. If these guys are left untreated they can take out a whole yard in one summer. If you are starting to notice “dry” areas in your yard that don’t improve with watering you can perform a small simple test to check for signs of billbugs.
Try the “Tug Test” to see if you have a billbug infestation: • Find a spot where the dry grass meets green grass, hold the dry grass with your hand and gently tug on the dry grass • If the grass easily lifts up with no attached roots, and has a saw dust like material at the base of the blades and stems, billbugs are likely the cause. • You may also see the white larvae with their brown heads in the soil on the ground or on the piece of lawn you pulled up.
If you see signs of the billbugs its best to start a treatment soon, you can get product from your local garden supply store or leave it to a pest professional. In most cases you will generally need just one treatment, some people go ahead a treat a second time during summer to be sure all the larvae are taken care of.
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