What did African Black Beetle ever do to anyone anyway?

“Can you spray the African Black Beetle out of my lawn?”

If I have heard it once over the past twenty years I have heard it a thousand times.
My answer is “Of course I can but is it really a big enough problem to warrant spraying?”

Every hot season will see some Beetle go from its larval stages to adulthood and yes you will see some, but are they swarming enough to do any damage?

For some reason I hardly ever hear people asking me to spray out their Armyworm, Webworm, Cutworm or Spider Mite. These are seldom seen in the home lawn but their damage is a lot more dramatic than our old friend, the African Black Beetle.

If you observe 50-100 beetles wandering across your lawn don’t panic. It’s time to panic only when there is more beetle than lawn visible. This is an extremely rare occurrence.

Water repellence

Generally repellence is often misdiagnosed as beetle damage. Beetle damage (on the extremely rare times it occurs) will leave the top growth weak enough to pull out with just a thumb and forefinger. Also remember the circular desperate-looking fungal patches that can come with Spring Dead Spot fungus, or later in the season with Brown patch (Rhizoctonia).

So my strategy is to embark on a two or three-visit programme to re-wet your soil via a quality wetting product.

Wetting agents

“But I have tried a wetting agent before,” I hear you say.
Wetting agents are measured on how quickly they get water moving through the soil profile and how many times they will re-wet after the soil/sand has partially dried out.

Generally off-the-shelf wetting agents have limited effect. The commercial grade wetting agents vastly out-perform the wetters you are able to buy from your local garden centres.

The commercial operator pays for the privilege of using cutting-edge technology and a portion of that cost is passed on to you, the consumer.

In this cost is also the guarantee of having the product(s) applied correctly, giving the product every opportunity to do its job properly, and giving you, the consumer, value for money and more spare time.

In summing up, if you think you have a problem with beetles, make sure you look beyond the surface and ask yourself:
Is your soil wetting up during irrigation/rainfall?
Is your cutting regime (height, cutting interval) consistent?
Are you supplying adequate nutrients on a regular basis?

Many things can damage a lawn surface but extremely rarely will it be the beetle.