Billbugs Demystified!

June 4, 2014

Billbugs are little pests that can cause lots of damage to your lawn.  There are a lot of misconceptions about billbugs.  The Treasure Valley has an especially bad billbug problem.  Let's learn a little bit more about them, so we better understand what we are up against.


What Are They?

A billbug is a little beetle.  Generally, billbug eggs are produced in late May.  They can hatch anytime between May till July.  Billbugs in the larva stage are what cause the most damage.  They crawl around under the grass and feed on the roots of the grass.  This is what damages your lawn.  Without roots, your grass will die.


What Do They Look Like?

Billbugs have several stages.  The picture above shows the various sizes and shapes of billbugs as they grow.  They begin as a small, white grub.  As they grow, they grow in size as well as grow a large dark 'spot' on the top.


What They Do?

Billbug larva feed on the roots of the grass.  It takes two to three weeks for a billbug to grow to maturity.  As soon as they grow to adults, they lay their eggs, crawl out of the grass, and look for a place to stay warm for the winter.  There is only a month window of time to control billbugs; otherwise chemicals won't work because the billbugs are gone.


What They Don't Do?

Brown spots in the lawn do not always indicate billbugs.  A lot of chemicals are put down on under watered spots in the lawn.  Before jumping to conclusions that you may have billbugs, there are a couple of test you can do.


1 - Pull on the brown grass and see what happens.  If the brown grass is hard to pull and still has roots, it is not billbugs.  If the grass pulls out with no resistance, and you can see the roots have been chewed on, that is a key indicator of billbugs.


2 - If you suspect billbugs, get a shovel and dig a little hole right on the edge of the brown grass where it meets the green, healthy grass.  If you have billbugs, you will see them.  They will be right at root level and look like the picture.


Our trained experts will come and assess your property to see what the best course of action would be.  There are many effective chemicals that control billbugs.  If we don't find any billbugs in your lawn, there are many other options to help your grass look better.  Give us a call today to talk about the best solution to your billbug problems!

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