African Black Beetle - Turf Control Options

There are a list of control options that are used in an Integrated Pest Management program to control African black beetle through prevention, observation and intervention:


  • Sacrify your lawn every Spring to remove excess thatch and dead grass that is located under the surface. The thatch acts as a ideal host for the hatching larvea of the African black beetle. This is an essential practice that needs to be followed to control the problem every summer.
  • Avoid planting or seeding turf in areas that have recently been attacked by the African beetle.
  • Consider using a different variety of turf grass that is less susceptible to attacks. Remove all Pennisetum clandestinum (Kikuyu grass), as this is the favoured turf of the African black beetle.
  • Avoid lighting your lawn surface at night unnecessarily in Spring with BBQ’s. The adult beetles are attracted to the light and will lay their eggs in your lawn as this is their mating season.
  • Maintain adequate soil moisture levels, especially in the spring time. Keeping the soil profile wet will drown and kill many eggs and hatching larvae.
  • If damage and attack is occurring from the African Black Beetle, raise the cutting height to deal with the stress.
  • Always aim to maintain turf health and nutrient levels to an optimum level.


  • Prevention rather than cure. Preventative insecticides
  • Curative applications (contact and ingestion modes of action)
  • Chlorpyrifos is the most commonly used insecticide against African black beetle.
  • Yates Baythroid (Active constituent: 12.5g/L Cyfluthrin. Solvent: 726g/L liquid Hydrocarbon)
  • Acelepryn (active constituent: 200g/L Chlorantraniliprole)
  • Correct timing of chemical applications is essential.


  • Cutting with your lawn mower catcher on will kill and remove the adult form. A must in Spring as this is the season to catch the adult forms
  • Flood/ Irrigate your lawn surface heavily. African Black Beetle will generally cause most damage in dry areas of your turf (generally where no irrigation is applied). Soak your lawn heavily until the beetles surface, and then either collect them manually or run over the area with a rotary or cylinder mower. You may choose to use a wetting agent or similar penetrant of the soil (dishwashing detergent is a great alternative) to have a greater result.


  • Nematodes. Entomopathogenic nematodes (EN) are available for registered use only. For the beneficial nematodes to efficiently work, the soil moisture level and soil temperature must be kept high.
  • Birds naturally eating the larvae and adults are a method of control, although this can cause extensive surface damage in its own right.

Robert Mellor and Eastern Suburbs Horticulture offer a complete lawn care and consulting service for all residential and commercial properties. Please do get in touch with the team before an African Black Beetle problem completely destroys your lawn.

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Page 1: Learn how to correctly diagnose an African black beetle problem

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