Golf Course Management

JUL 2017

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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60 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 07.17 Michael E. Patterson Xi Xiong, Ph.D. Bruce A. Barrett, Ph.D. Billbug species composition and life cycles on Missouri zoysiagrass fairways Bluegrass and hunting billbugs have become a pest of zoysiagrass fairways in the upper transition zone, but they can be controlled if superintendents have a thorough understanding of the billbugs' life cycle and times of peak activity. This research was funded in part by GCSAA through the Environmental Institute for Golf. In the upper transition zone centralized around Missouri, Meyer zoysiagrass (Zoysia japonica Steud.) occupies more than 90% of golf course fairways. This predominance is attributed to its superior cold tolerance when compared with other warm-season turf spe - cies, such as bermudagrass (Cynodon species), and its status as being relatively pest-free. In recent years, however, billbugs (S eno orus species) — especially hunting billbug (S. vena - tus vestitus Chittenden) — have emerged as a problem that, if left untreated, seriously dam - ages zoysiagrass fairways (Figure 1). Without proper diagnosis, damage caused by billbugs is often confused with other biotic and abiotic stresses, such as white grub, drought, winter - kill or even fungal diseases. Billbugs are small-sized weevils. Adults measure 0.3 inch (0.76 cm) long or less, and, like other weevils, have a long proboscis. The larvae are legless and feed within the stems of the turfgrass plants after hatching from eggs. When they become larger, they also feed un - derground on plant crowns and roots. Adults typically come to the turf surface in the eve - ning hours, primarily between midnight and 4 a.m. (4). These habits probably explain why Figure 1. Billbug damage on Meyer zoysiagrass turf (left) in October 2016. After the turf was removed, four billbug larvae were found actively feeding inside the PVC grid (right). Photos by Michael Patterson Billbug damage

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