- Latin Name: Sphenophorus spp.
- Size: Anywhere from 1/2 inch to 1 inch long
- Color: Gray, brown, or grayish-brown
- Shape: Long and ovular with a snout that appears a little like an elephant’s trunk
- Found in: Everywhere in the eastern United States, particularly in southern states like South Carolina and Virginia and coastal states like Maryland.
- Overview: Billbugs, actually a type of weevil, pose the biggest threat to crops grown agriculturally but can also cause great harm to residential gardens and grasses.
About the Billbug
Billbugs feed on all manner of agricultural crops but cause the most damage as they nest and burrow within the roots of plants. This can be particularly detrimental to residential grass species like Kentucky Bluegrass, fescue, and rye. As adult Billbugs lay their eggs they typically do so within the stems of grass blades. From there, the larvae hatch and feed themselves on the water and nutrients of the grass blades, causing irreparable damage to the structural integrity of the plant.
Because Billbugs typically stay well hidden while they’re breeding and feeding, the first sign of an infestation is usually an area of grass that won’t become green even after repeated watering. Some homeowners notice Billbugs (whose appearance can sometimes be mistaken for the common stinkbug) on patios and driveways as they move around the yard. If you’ve noticed any suspicious pest activity in your yard or grassy areas, contact a pest professional in your area immediately for proper identification and treatment options.
Preventing Billbugs in the U.S.
Unfortunately, Billbugs are a highly adaptable species of pest. They can live in a wide variety of climates and don’t need much moisture to survive for long periods of time, making them a formidable foe for homeowners and lawncare professionals alike. Preventing Billbugs can often be as simple as choosing a grass type less vulnerable to their wear and tear. It’s also important to keep thatch buildup within your lawn to a minimum since thatch does not have adequate drainage, allowing for a whole host of insects to make themselves at home.
Only a pest professional can accurately identify a Billbug issue at your home. There are a variety of biological and chemical agents available that are extremely effective against Billbugs if applied regularly – your pest specialist can talk to you about which solution might be right for your yard.