How To Prevent Lawn Billbugs

Written by Ian Thompson

Ian holds a Masters in Turf Management from Sydney University, has over 20 years experience working as a golf course Superintendent, turf manager, product formulation and development. We call him our resident Lawn genius.

There’s no better sight for homeowners than a lush, healthy lawn. In fact, a dense, dark, green lawn gives your home great curbside appeal and forms the foundation of any garden — so the last thing you need is pests, like lawn Billbugs, threatening the health of your grass.

But what exactly are these lawn insects, and how do you know if your lawn is under threat by them? In this blog, we’ll explain what lawn Billbugs are, the signs your lawn has become infested with them, and how to prevent lawn Billbugs. 

What are lawn Billbugs? 

Lawn Billbugs (sometimes called La Plata weevil) are a common type of lawn insect that loves to attack your lawn, feeding on the stems of the grass and causing significant damage to the lawn.

How do I know if my lawn has lawn Billbugs?

They aren’t exactly the biggest lawn pest (coming in at 9-10mm), so it can be very difficult to determine if you do in fact have lawn billbugs. The first thing you need to know is that their distribution is nearly Australian-wide. But, if you’re lucky enough to reside in Tasmania or the Northern Territory — where lawn Billbugs have not yet been sited — you may have another lawn insect pest.

While they aren’t particularly fussy eaters, going after most common lawns including couch, buffalo and Tall Fescue, they certainly have a favourite food in the form of Kikuyu lawns.

Lawn Billbugs don’t actually feed on the leaves themselves. Instead, they feed just below the leaves, down in the plant’s stems, where they can hide from predators and the heat of the day. In Spring, the adult weevils lay their eggs, which typically hatch two weeks later. Unfortunately, for lawn lovers, that means both the larvae and the adult of the lawn Billbug begin feasting on your lawn. If you believe your lawn has lawn Billbugs, these are the main signs to watch out for: 

  • The stems of your grass break off too easily.
  • The stems have wilted or have yellow to brown discolouration. 
  • Significant dead patches of lawn
  • Bird damage as they chase the pest

The best way to look for them is to use a watering can containing 9L of water and 30ml of detergent, apply it to the surface and see if they come to the surface. Keep in mind lawn Billbugs are very small, so you may have some trouble seeing them.

How to prevent lawn Billbugs 

When it comes to preventing lawn Billbugs, it simply comes down to proper lawn management. This refers to regular mowing and using a top-quality fertiliser to keep your lawn nourished and stimulate new growth. 

In fact, when numbers of lawn Billbugs are low, a healthy lawn that has recently received fertiliser can grow faster than the damage they create, so we don’t even know they are there.

As always, though, there comes a tipping point when the damage requires some attention, that’s when we recommend you get on top of the issue quickly to prevent further infestation by investing in a top-quality insecticide. We highly recommend our favourite lawn insecticide Acelepryn, as it knocks down lawn Billbug larvae and protects your lawn against other common lawn insects for up to 6 months. 

We also recommend purchasing a spreader to ensure you apply the fine granular to the lawn with the product. And if you need any advice on selecting the right products for your situation, our resident lawn genius is here to help. Be warned; he loves nothing better than talking lawns. 
The Lawn Shed has been helping customers prevent lawn Billbugs and other lawn pests for years. We’re specialists and know exactly what it takes to get your lawn looking picture perfect. Discover how The Lawn Shed can transform your lawn by browsing our range of fertilisers and insecticides today!

You may also like…