Black Beetles

Author: Stefan Palm   Date Posted: 2 February 2016 

Do you have dead spots in your lawn? – It could back beetles but could it be something else too….

I start off a lot of my blogs with the following sentence and this one is no different…. Often people come into our shop or call over the phone and tell us their stories of dead spots in their lawn and ask us how we can help them solve the problem.  More often than not, the humble black beetle gets blame and some of the time it is the culprit… but not all the time…

I’m usually the guy saying it’s more likely other issues causing the dead spots rather than black beetles but this year has been different. There has genuinely been a black beetle uprising resulting in unhappy lawn owners all over the metropolitan area. To be technically correct on this issue, it’s not the adult beetle that does the damage in your lawn – it’s their larvae. The adult beetle might eat a bit of your lawn, but the real damage they cause is the eggs they lay in the soil. As the eggs hatch, the larvae eat your lawn roots till they mature into adults at which point they  dig out and fly away. Traditional beetle killer granules target the adult and not the larvae which is almost a complete waste of time.  What you need to use are chemicals that contain Imidacloprid. These sorts of chemicals will last in the soil for 3 months and specifically target the larvae. Any new larvae that hatch in that 3 month window will die too. Better yet, get your hands on a product called Yates Complete insect control. It has imidacloprid and cyfluthrin. Cyfluthrin targets the adults so together you kill the adult and the larvae. Problem solved.  Another interesting fact is that a black beetle larvae has the capacity to effect an area of lawn about the size of a 50c piece. If you have large patches of lawn dying off, then you would expect to have an infestation of larvae just under the soil surface.  You’ll know you have beetles by doing a really simple test. Dig a small clod of lawn out in the middle of a dead looking patch of lawn. If you can’t find any beetle larvae, it probably isn’t a black beetle problem. If on the other hand you do find beetle larvae and the clod of lawn doesn’t take much digging out (indicating the larvae have chewed all the roots off) then it’s time to make a trip down to your lawn specialist to get some control measures.

If you are one of the many to discover that your dead patches are not the work of black beetle larvae, then it’s time to dig a little deeper.   Other common causes are non-wetting soils and fungal diseases, all of which are easily solved. If you have dead or dying patches in your lawn that you can’t get to the bottom of, give us a call on 8298 0555 or leave a comment on this post. We’d love to help you get your lawn back to green.

Comments (1)

Dead lawn

By: on 18 March 2018
I applied SeaSol to some browned off patches on my lawn and the sections that died were not the ones I treated. When some of the lawn died off overnight I airated this section and applied Seasol. The lawn seems to be recovering quiet well. The problem might be solved. However I will do the things mentioned in your article, dig a hole, etc and take your advice. Thank you for your help. It was more than l thought I would find on the Internet.

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