Monitoring Destructive Scarab Beetles1 in Texas Turfgrasses
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Turfgrasses grown for sod production, golf courses, recreational areas, and home lawns are frequently damaged by destructive insect pests that substantially reduce turfgrass quality. White grubs, the larval stage of scarab beetles, cause damage as they feed on grass roots. This is particularly problematic in areas of the southern and southwestern United States where turfgrass may already be impacted by drought stress. That white grubs are subterranean makes monitoring abundance time-consuming and damaging to the turfgrass; monitoring beetle flights can be an effective alternative. Black-light traps were used to monitor scarab beetles at seven turfgrass locations in Texas during 2015. In total, 23,345 scarab beetles were collected in weekly samples that were sorted to genus. Phyllophoga spp. was most abundant, followed by Serica spp., Hybosorus spp., Cyclocephala spp., Tomarus spp., and Ataenius spp. Beetle diversity and abundance varied by date and location, with many species having multiple peaks in flight intensity. Monitoring scarab beetle flights could reduce insecticide application by allowing turfgrass managers to time preventive applications targeting eggs and immature white grubs as opposed to repeatedly applying curative insecticides based on multiple peaks in abundance.
author list (cited authors)
Reynolds, W. C., Reynolds, D. S., Puckett, R. T., Wade, T., & Elmore, M. T.