How to Fight a Billbug Lawn Infestation


Billbugs are a common pest that plagues turfgrass lawns in Ohio. Mainly prevalent in bluegrass, billbugs feed on turfgrass stems, crowns, and roots. This turf pest causes brown spotting throughout your yard as it feeds on your grass. Read on to learn about billbug prevention and how to manage an infestation.

What do Billbugs Look Like?

The larvae are creamy white in color with brown heads and slightly curved bodies. They resemble legless white grubs. Adult billbugs range in color from dark gray to black.

Does Your Turfgrass Have Billbugs?

Inspect your lawn before treating for billbugs. In the spring, you’ll find billbugs moving from the thatch and leaf litter near your turfgrass into the turf as they search for spots to lay eggs. In the fall, new adults move back to live in thatch and leaf litter. Larvae live in the turf until they reach adulthood.

Billbugs will cause turf spotting during the summertime. The brown patches they create in your yard can be similar in appearance to many lawn diseases, so inspect the grass blades for billbug waste (known as frass) to confirm their presence. Remember that bluegrass is their preferred host, making an infestation less likely on other types of turf.

Billbug Management

Because bluegrass is the most afflicted grass, overseeding your lawn with a mix of other turf seeds can help reduce your billbug population. Healthy soil and turf are the most effective way to prevent billbug damage. Avoid over-fertilizing to promote strong growth.

Billbug Treatment

The optimal time to treat for billbugs is in late spring and early summer as larvae begin to hatch. If using insecticides, take precaution to read the label carefully, select the right mix, and ensure you have the appropriate timing.

Microscopic worms known as entomopathogenic nematodes are sometimes used to attack the larvae of turf pests. Be sure to keep the soil moist as they establish in the ground.

Billbug Prevention

Take action before billbugs claim your lawn. The experts at Cardinal Lawns can help in the prevention and treatment of billbugs. Contact us today to learn how!

Lawn Pest Guide

Download Your FREE Lawn Pest Guide

Pests become most prevalent during the heat and humidity of summer. Take some time to learn about the signs of infestations before any damage can be caused to your landscape. This handy guide will teach you how to spot common lawn pests and how to keep them from causing harm to you and your property.