How to Control Billbugs in the Lawn

If your grass turns brown and lifts out easily when pulled, you may have this root-chewing pest.

What to Look for

The grass turns brown and dies in expanding patches from mid-June to late August. When pulled, the grass lifts easily. Lying in the soil are fat, humpbacked grubs, white with brown heads, from 1/4- to 1/2-inch long. Adult billbugs--black, slow-moving, snouted weevils--occasionally walk on sidewalks and driveways in May and October. The larvae damage lawns by hollowing out the grass stems and chewing off the roots. They can destroy an entire lawn.

How to Deal with Billbugs

Small damaged areas usually recover if the billbug larvae are killed. Water and fertilize the lawn to stimulate new growth. Reseed or resod large areas. Maintain proper soil moisture and lawn fertilization.

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