Insect / Pest ID & Solution

African Black Beetle

Heteronychus arator

Larvae are a White to creamy-white, soft bodied curl grub up to 25mm long. Three sets of legs with a hard, light brown head capsule. Mature/adult beetles are shiny jet-black scarab beetle up to 15mm long with serrated front legs.


Tirem 200 SC Insecticide (larvae control)

Ceasefire 2G Insecticide (adult control)


Argentine Scarab

Cyclocephala signaticollis

Larval stage is a white to creamy-white, soft bodied curl grub up to 25mm long. Similar to African Black Beetle with three sets of legs and a hard, light brown head capsule, but appears in larger numbers and is more active. When mature the adult beetle is olive in colour with distinct brown markings on the wing casing and a soft shell, up to 15mm long.


Tirem 200 SC Insecticide (larvae control)

Ceasefire 2G Insecticide (adult control)

 Life Cycle

  • Lays eggs in summer.
  • Eggs hatch into larvae (3 larvae stages). 10-11 months as larvae.
  • Larvae grow quickly and reach 3rd instar within several weeks, most turf damage in this stage, feeding on turf roots is extreme. Control with larvicides is difficult in this stage.
  • Pupae stage: feeding on turf stops.
  • Pupae develop into adults and appear in summer. Adults lays eggs in summer to complete life cycle. 


Due to root damage the turf cannot effectively access moisture in the soil, hence giving drought like symptoms in irregular patterns.

High infestation of turf results in damage and loss of the majority of the root structure and sections of turf can be peeled back or lifted easily (like a just laid instant turf roll) due to feeding larvae (3rd stage larvae).

Bird feeding on the larvae can sometimes be more damaging than the larvae themselves, furthermore the bird can give you an early indication larvae numbers my be high and sub surface inspection is required ASAP.


Sphenophorus brunnipennis

The immature billbug (also known as the La Plata weevil) is a legless, creamy-white ‘C’ shaped larvae with an orange head capsule, with a body up to 10mm long. When mature the larvae metamorphoses Dark brown to black weevil, with a distinctive ‘bill’ like snout, and elbowed antennae. Young adults often have dark brown striping on the wing casings, bodies up to 10mm long.


Tirem 200 SC Insecticide (larvae control)

Ceasefire 2G Insecticide (adult control)


Life Cycle

Depending on location and weather conditions billbugs generally lay their eggs during October to December. The eggs develop into larvae after 2 weeks and immediately begin feeding as they burrow their way down through the plants to roots.

Billbugs deposit their eggs within the plant stem, where the larvae develop and feed on the plant. It is at this stage of development that the most severe damage is inflicted to turf grass. As the larvae continue to develop, they also feed on grass roots.

These insect pupae, remain in the soil from late summer to early Autumn. Billbugs have a one or possibly two year life cycle and overwinter as young adults.


Visible turf injury results as larvae burrow down through the stem of the turf plant towards the crown. This destroys the stems and eventually results in the death of the plant itself. 
Affected plants will initially turn yellow and may eventually turf brown and die. This can often appear similar to the symptoms of fungal diseases. In periods of high pest pressure, large areas of turf can be killed.

Tufts of dead plants can easily be pulled out of the ground as hollows stems break off at the crown.

Mole Cricket

Gryllotalpa spp. / Scapteriscus didactylus

Mole crickets have a cricket-like appearance. Like all insects, they have three pairs of legs, three-segmented body parts, and a set of antennae. Their forelegs are modified for digging through the soil and resemble the front legs of a mole. Unlike common crickets, they do not feature the long hind legs of most species.

Mole Crickets can reach 40 to 50mm in length as adults.


Monarch G Insecticide (larvae & adult control)

Life Cycle

Mole Crickets is southern Australia regions have only one generation per year. In regions further north, they can have two or more generations per year.

Mole crickets have three life stages in their development,

  • Egg stage (Each female lays between 100 and 200 eggs)
  • Immature stage (also known as the larval or nymph stage). Nymphs mature during the summer and create maximum damage in late summer and early autumn.
  • Adult stage.

During mating the males uniquely use the burrow to amplify their mating song and attract the female, this amplification also allows them to test the moisture levels in the hole.

Mole crickets can overwinter as either an immature or adult, from April through September. Although typically inactive while overwintering, periods of warm winter weather may cause them to become more active. Small tunnelling or mound-building can be seen during these warm spells. Mole crickets overwintering as immatures will develop into adults during the spring.


The main damage done by mole crickets is as a result of their burrowing activities. As they tunnel through the top few centimetres of soil, they push the ground up in little ridges, increasing evaporation of surface moisture, disturbing the roots. They are also damage turf and pasture grasses as they feed on their roots, leaving the plants prone to drying out and damage by use. Creating patchy and uneven playing fields due to holes and tunnel structures under the surface. If not controlled during ideal conditions large turf damage and death can occur.

Mole crickets burrow deep into soil to lay their eggs, creating networks of tunnels underground. They prefer a moisture-rich soil and struggle in arid ground. They are commonly found on irrigated land.

Mole crickets have few natural enemies.

Lawn Armyworm

Spodoptera maurita

 "Lawn Armyworm" get its name from their behaviour of moving across lawns in an army-like fashion; they aren't really worms at all - they're caterpillars.

Lawn Armyworm is a damaging pest when in the larval life stage. The larvae are a soft bodied caterpillar with a dark coloured body up to 45mm long, they possess unique white and yellow striped patterns along the length of the back making them relatively easy to identify. When feeding the larvae often appear in congregations, clumping around stems and foliage of the turf plant. Once mature, the caterpillar metamorphoses into a pale brown moth with a wingspan to 40mm, possesses a distinct white spot in the centre of the fore-wing.


Ceasefire 2G Insecticide (adult control)


Life Cycle

  • The female moth may lay more than 1000 eggs, sporadically in clusters within 4 to 10 days, pending on temperature. The newly hatched armyworms stay together feeding on the same plant until it is devoured.
  • The larvae lawn armyworm are usually most active in the evening or at night, except in overcast weather conditions. During the day they hide under the safety of the lower grass leaves.
  • An armyworm will undergo 6 to 9 instar stages before it is fully developed. This will take 21- 35 days and at a mature instar stage the insect will reach 3-4 cm in length.
  • When fully fed the armyworm will work its way into the soil profile where it pupates. 10-14 days later the moths emerge.
  • There may be 2 or 3 generations of armyworm during the summer and autumn period.


Lawn Armyworms are a major pest during summer and autumn, causing severe damage to any and all turf surfaces, where they attack leaves, stems and seedheads.
Infestations in turf gradually extend outwards from gardens or higher cut turf areas as these plants are used as egg laying sites.
Severe damage is predominantly caused by the later instar stages and as populations increase.

How do I Know if I Have Lawn Armyworms?

  • If your turf has become discoloured or looks like it has been exposed to frost, you possibly have them.
  • Damage often begins on one side of the turf and moves across, but that is not always the case; sometimes it's in the middle or not as uniform as a text book example.
  • A large number of birds in a turf area may be a sign of Lawn Armyworms since they are an excellent food source for birds.
  • If the Lawn Armyworm came with the sod (instant turf laid), they would be everywhere at once eating sod.