Diane E Silcox, Amy C Lockwood, and Rick L Brandenburg

The turfgrass industry is an ever-growing and expanding industry in North Carolina.  Over the past two decades there has been an increase in the amount of acreage devoted to growing high quality turfgrass.  With this increase in turfgrass acreage there is also a change in the types of turfgrass grown and the need to develop new management practices.   We have seen many pests move into the state such as mole crickets, Oriental beetles, and fire ants.   These have been a natural progression and spread of invasive species.  In recent years we have uncovered two insects, the hunting billbug (Sphenophorus venatus vestitus) and the sugar cane beetle (Euetheola humilis).  These insects have been present in North Carolina for many years, but only recently become pests.  A review of the literature reveals no recent studies on these pests in the Southeast.

The hunting billbug has been reported as a pest in both warm and cool season turfgrasses for many years.  In the past ten years it has been a common pest in cool season grasses and an emerging pest in warm season grasses. Previous work on the billbug life cycle in warm season grasses determined when the insect is most abundant in the turfgrass.  Continued research efforts will determine oviposition cycles of adult, female hunting billbugs.  This will help to determine when the damaging life stages are present in the soil.  We also will look at the damage created by adult billbugs to try and develop a way to monitor populations based on surface damage.

The sugarcane beetle has traditionally been a sporadic agricultural pest. Its recent emergence as a turfgrass pest has caused a need for new research to be conducted as these habitats are so different. The sugarcane beetle adult causes turfgrass damage by feeding on roots and crowns and tunneling near the soil surface. There is no evidence of damage by grubs and it is hypothesized that they only feed on decaying organic matter. The adult beetle overwinters rather than the grub stage, which is commonly seen in other turfgrass beetle pests. Egg laying by the overwintering population has been observed as early as May. Though there is only one generation per year there is a significant overlap where multiple stages are present in the field. All of these ecological and developmental factors are added tools that can help generate a successful management plan