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New Zealand Plant Protection 64 (2011): 284

Argentine stem weevil and golf: being a pest in turf grasses

P.J. Vittum and M.R. McNeill


Argentine stem weevil (ASW), Listronotus bonariensis, is a well known pest of grass species in New Zealand pasture. Less well known is its pest status in amenity turf, especially golf courses, in New Zealand and Australia. ASW infests Poa annua and browntop, which are common grasses on New Zealand golf courses. Larval damage initially appears as chlorotic turf, then turns straw-coloured, which can be confused as dormant (dry) or diseased turf. While many aspects of the biology of ASW in pasture have been elucidated, little is known about the biology or behaviour of the insect on golf courses. A preliminary study was carried out from mid September 2010 to early February 2011 at Pleasant Point Golf Club (South Canterbury), where ASW has caused significant damage in recent years. The study looked at the relative number of ASW adults collected from the fairway and rough and their reproductive condition. The study also tracked the presence and stage of development of larvae in the fairway throughout the season. An insecticide efficacy trial that included treatments targeting adults or larvae of the second summer generation showed excellent (>85%) control with a single application of an adulticide or larvicide in December or early-January.

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