Species category: Beetles & Weevils
Scientific name: Cyclocephala signaticollis
The adult beetle is very similar in size and shape to the better known African Black Beetle but is a lighter tan coloured insect and has subtle striping on the wing carapaces.
First reported in Australia in the mid-1950s, it has now spread up and down the NSW coast. In the past decade, it has become a widespread and serious pest of recreational turf areas.
Lives in the soil and favours turf, its presence is often indicated by a spongier feel to the turf, which results from the damaged root system, and also by increased bird activity.
It lays its eggs during summer and this is when the worst turf damage can occur. They produce eggs at an incredibly fast rate which feed off the root system. Often the damage is already done by the time the pests are visible.
They damage turf by root feeding, weakening the turf and making it vulnerable. In December, the larvae cause considerable damage to grass, which can be accentuated by widespread bird-feeding with associated tearing of the turf. Larval numbers can be as high as 350 per m²