Billbugs in North Florida Lawns


Checking Insect Numbers In the Lawn:


Scouting the lawn for Billbugs and the signs of damage they can do should be done frequently to carefully monitor both harmful and beneficial insect populations.



     Billbuggs are soil dwelling insects. The adult beetles are 3/8 of an inch long, a dark brown color with a snout like bill giving them their name. The larvae are white with a yellowish brown head and grow to 3/8 of an inch long

Damage to Lawns done by Bilbugs: 

     The larval form of the billbug is what does the most damage to sod. They feed on the roots causing dead areas through the lawn. Damage can first appear as small spots a few inches across of yellowing then browning grass blades, but will enlarge as the grubs continue to feed. Heavy infestations completely destroy the sod and it can be rolled back as if it were cut with a shovel or sod cutter.  

Feeding Habitsof Billbugs in Jacksonville | St. Augustine | North Florida: 

    Billbugs are major pests on Zoysia lawns and tend to favor Bermuda grass as well. They are sometimes found on other grass varieties. 

Reproduction and Life Cycle: 

Checking for Billbug Populations: 

Control may be needed once billbugs have been identified and numbers reach 10 or more per square foot area. Checking for Billbugs  should be done in several areas of grass through the yard. 

Control of Billbugs in the Jacksonville | St. Augustine | North Florida Areas: 

Natural Control of Billbugs: 

Moles, skunks and armadillos feed on the grubs and will tear up the lawn looking for them. I have always welcomed the sight of mole tracks in my yard knowing they are doing their job and consuming mass amounts of grubs in the lawn. When the grubs are gone the moles will be gone as well off searching for a better food supply.  

Chemical control of Billbugs: 

     Billbugs and their larvae can be controlled with chemicals such as Diazanon. Orthene, Oftanol,Trichlorfon and Sevin.

     When using a liquid apply on to moist grass and apply ½ inch of water after treatment to move the chemical into the root zone of the grass.

     When using a granular irrigate with ½ inch of water immediately after treatment.

A Word of Caution with Chemical Treatment from Me to You:

     Perhaps it is my many years of dealing with the people in the Agriculture industry who have lived long lives and encountered many troubles with chemicals during their careers, but I cannot talk about chemical control without at least my mentioning the following concerns. 

 Make sure to read all directions carefully and apply liquid sprays diluted with water at the application rate recommended on the product label for the pest you are targeting and do not mix stronger than suggested target treatment rates. 

      Remember that insecticides are POISONS and approach their use with caution, wear protective eye gear and chemical resistant gloves and rubber boots as well as long sleeved shirts and pants. Remember to wash these items separately from other laundry immediately after application and shower after getting the clothes into the laundry. 

Lastly but most importantly, pay particular attention to lock unused chemicals up away from visiting children and pets.  

So that’s it on the speech about chemicals, I hope I have been able to help you know what’s wrong and how to treat it so now you have to help me sleep easier by indulging me with these motherly concerns, fair trade don’t you think?  I’ll sleep easier knowing that you did.    

J Charlotte