Black Turfgrass Ataenius

Ataenius spretulus

Immature beetles (grubs) are less than 2.0 mm (1/16 inch) long on hatching and grow to about  5.0 mm (3/16 inch) when mature. They are typical C-shaped grubs with a yellow-brown head capsule and three pairs of legs. 

The adult beetles frequent piles of grass clippings, leaves or any other decaying vegetation. They over-winter in wooded areas under litter on well-drained, sandy soil. Eggs can be laid on lush, moist fairways. Larvae hatch quickly and feed on bentgrass and bluegrass roots, clipping them off and consuming them – until the end of July.

The decision to control must be made early – before damage can be seen (use a golf course cup changer to monitor these root-feeding grubs).

Turf Symptoms

• Grass blades wither and die in irregular patches.
• Turf can be easily pulled loose from the soil.
• The turf yellows in mid-July as if due to drought.
• Dead patches increase in size until the larvae cease feeding.

Control Options

• Apply MERIT 0.5G or SOLUPAK just prior to egg hatch.
• Apply MERIT 0.5G at the rate of 560 g/100 m2.
• Apply MERIT SOLUPAK at the rate of 1 packet per 1,206 m2.
• Water sufficiently (5-10 mm of water) following the application to move the active ingredient through the thatch.


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