Lawn Insect – Bluegrass Billbug

(Sphenophorus parvulus)

The Bluegrass Billbug also known as Sphenophorus parvulus is a lawn insect affecting Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, fine fescue, and tall fescue. The Bluegrass Billbug can be found throughout most of the continental United States.      

Identifying Bluegrass Billbug -

Bluegrass Billbug adults can be identified by their long, beak-like snouts with chewing mouthparts at the tip. They are hard bodied and slate-gray to black in color, although they may appear reddish-brown from the dried soil on the body. These lawn insects also feature elbowed antennae attached near the base of the snout. The larvae are fat, legless grubs that are creamy white in color with a brown head. Larvae are most often found inside of stems or on the crown of the plant.

The first sign of damage is usually scattered dead stems, then brown patches of turf will begin to die out. To check for Bluegrass Billbug, perform the "tug-test" by pulling up a small section of the turf. If Bluegrass Billbugis present, hollowed out stems will be found with sawdust-like frass.

Sometimes Bluegrass Billbug damage can resemble that of drought/stress, dollar spot, greenbug damage or white grub damage. Damage from this lawn insect can be differentiated from other pests in that the infested turf will turn whiter in color, rather than burnt orange as associated with greenbugs. Additionally, the soil in the damaged area will remain firm, as opposed to loose and spongy as associated with white grubs.

Bluegrass Billbug Life Cycle -

Bluegrass Billbug overwinters as an adult. Single eggs are inserted into holes chewed into grass stems just above the crown. When each egg hatches, the larvae bore up and down the stem, making it hollow. The larvae then burrow 3-4” in the soil and pupate. 

Bluegrass Billbug

Bluegrass Billbug Control -

It's best to kill insects, grubs and other pests before they have a chance to cause damage to your lawn. Scotts LawnService recommends our exclusive Scotts® GrubEx® and Ortho® Max™ Pro insect control products, which will kill a wide variety of lawn damaging pests. Ortho® Max™ Pro eliminates destructive, bothersome insects including the Bluegrass Billbug, without disturbing the earthworms that are beneficial to your lawn's health.

Scotts LawnService is the trusted industry leader for professional quality lawn care. Our exclusive lawn care products include premium grass seeds and professional-grade fertilizers; our lawn service teams are comprised of highly trained, industry-certified professionals. Contact a representative today for Bluegrass Billbug control options available in your area and to learn how you can enjoy a lush, thicker lawn that only Scotts LawnService can deliver.