Major Insect Pests of Turfgrass in Georgia with Dr. Shimat Joseph

Dr. Shimat Joseph’s presentation on “Major Insect Pests of Turfgrass in Georgia” highlights the importance of turfgrass and ornamental systems in Georgia’s economy, with turfgrass contributing about $1 billion in sales and covering about 25,000 acres. The presentation outlines several major pests affecting these systems, including:

  • Caterpillars: Sod webworms, armyworms, and cutworms are significant problems in both homeowner and public settings.
  • Chinch Bugs: Common in the southern part of the state, they feed on grasses like St. Augustine and Bermuda grass.
  • Two-lined Spittlebugs: A problem in centipede grass, causing the grass to turn purple and die if the population is high.
  • Rhodesgrass Mealybugs: An emerging problem in the southern part of the state, causing damage to grasses like Bermuda and Tall Fescue.
  • Billbugs: A complex pest causing significant losses to sod farms, golf courses, and the landscape care industry.
  • Mole Crickets: A problem in golf courses, causing damage through tunneling.
  • White Grubs: A complex of pests causing damage to grasses, with Japanese beetles, June beetles, and June bugs being the most common species.

Dr. Joseph emphasizes the importance of early detection and management of these pests to minimize damage and protect the environment. He discusses various pesticides and biological control agents effective against these pests, including pyrethroids for sod webworms, neonicotinoids for chinch bugs, and fipronil for mole crickets. The presentation also touches on the challenges of controlling certain pests, such as the difficulty in managing chinch bugs and the effectiveness of different products for controlling rhodesgrass mealybugs.

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