Spring is off to a slow start and looking outside it is still hard to imagine it will ever be warm again but let's be optimistic and say springs is here. So, in that case, it is time to start thinking about getting the garden back in order. Now if you’re like me your lawn would have taken a hiding this winter, too much rain and just too cold. That rain hasn't done me any favours and has caused havoc to my once pristine Sir Walter Buffalo lawn. But the state of my lawn could actually be caused by the invasive African Black lawn beetle and its larvae. African Black Beetles are attracted to a healthy lawn and if not dealt with, can take a once healthy lawn and transform it into a baron patchy waste land.
African Black Beetle was first reported in Wyong NSW in the 1920’s and has successfully made its way through Victoria, NSW, SA, Queensland, and WA by using an array of plants as its host, from grasses, potatoes, grain and numerous vegetables and fruits.
So how can you tell you have African Black Beetle? Luckily for us, the process is fairly simple, all you have to do is roll back a small section of lawn that you suspect is infested. A section about 30 cm x 30 cm should be ample. Using a garden trowel, slowly turn over the soil, it will not take long to discover the lawn beetle larvae.
The larvae are easily recognizable by their distinctive crescent shaped white bodies and brown to tan heads. Fully grown larvae will measure about 25 to 30 mm in length. You may also find in amongst the soil, the adult beetles and which are very easy to distinguish from other insects. As the name suggests the body colour is black and will appear to be glossy/ shiny. The adult beetle size will size vary from 10 to 14mm in length.
Once identified, the treatment process is very straight forward, use a good quality lawn insecticide like Yates Complete and follow that up with a good fertilise, and your lawn will back looking green and pristine in no time.