Controlling Annual Bluegrass Weevils continues to be one of the top priorities of many golf course superintendents in the northeast part of the US. But recent research discoveries have shown that this pest is not just indigenous to the northeastern states.
Over the past two years, research out of North Carolina State University has found that populations of ABWs are more vastly spread down south than originally thought. NCSU found populations of ABWs present, accounted for, and causing damage to turfgrass far south as the Carolinas and as far west as Tennessee. All research suggests that the key to maximum control and minimizing damage of annual bluegrass weevils is a programmatic approach.
At UPI-USA, we have been doing ABW control research for nearly 4 years, timed to the introduction of Avatar® PLX, a unique acephate – imidacloprid combination that has shown great promise as part of a solid ABW control program. In 2016, Dr. Ben McGraw of Penn State University performed some research evaluating Avatar® PLX. While all the research with Avatar® PLX has been very positive (very good control of adults and moderate control of larvae – see graphs below), the one predominant weakness of this product is the superintendent’s limitation to only one application due to the imidacloprid component of the combo. Thus, if imidacloprid is your grub control choice, the product needs to be timed accordingly.
Keeping this in mind, this past year, UPI changed its tact and began researching other products in the UPI insecticide arsenal of ABW control options. In 2017, Dr. Ben McGraw at Penn State University continued to run Avatar® PLX trials, but also evaluated a number of alternative UPI control products, as well as a UPI ABW Solutions program that utilizes Avatar® PLX and these alternatives. Tested this past year were products such as UP-Star® SC (bifenthrin), Acephate® 97UP (acephate), and a brand new patented combo that is named Acenthrin®, which combines two actives. Acenthrin® has just recently received EPA approval. Important to mention is the fact that these alternative UPI products, unlike Avatar® PLX, can be sprayed multiple times in an effort to maximize ABW control. Additionally, it is important to note that Acephate® 97UP is different from other OP insecticides in that it has both contact and systemic functionality. Lastly, Dr. McGraw ran a UPI ABW Solutions Program, which included sequential applications of UP-Star® SC, Acephate® 97 UP, and Avatar® PLX to evaluate Peak Adult – Early Larvae – Late Larvae ABW control in comparison to the standard WeevilTrak® program, which included sequential applications of Scimitar®, Acelepryn®, and Ference®. Ultimately, the results of this trial was statistical indifferent between the two programs (see tables below).
UPI will be running more ABW trials in the spring and summer of 2018. It is the goal of UPI-USA to continue to research control options and to provide the golf course superintendent with the best, most cost effective control options for ABW, as well as other pests. For more information on UPI insecticide, fungicide, and herbicide products, please contact your regional UPI Territory Manager or go to the UPI-USA website (www.upi-usa.com).
About the author
Mark DelSantro is director of innovation and development, UPI Specialty, Fumigation, and Aquatics. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.