Thursday, July 26, 2012

It's a Jungle Out There

We have been talking a lot about the weather, but insects are also causing issues this time of year. Two insects we are dealing with right now are cutworms and Cicada Killers.  You may have noticed flocks of birds pecking at the fairways over the last few weeks, they were looking for cutworms.  Sometimes blackbirds can keep the population of cutworms at a level that does not cause damage to the turf. Unfortunately the birds needed some help this year  Today we sprayed fairways for cutworms and thousands came up to die on the surface.  Cutworms not only attack the fairways but also the greens and tees.

Black Cutworms on the surface of a fairway.  Thousands could be seen dying on Thursday afternoon.
Flocks of blackbirds searching for cutworms.

Cicada Kills have also moved into some of the bunkers on the course.  This wasp is very intimidating, but not interested in people.  It likes cicadas.  The female finds a cicada, stings it so that it will be paralyzed and then brings it back to the hole that it made in the bunker.  After dragging it's pray into the hole she lays an egg on the cicada.  The egg then hatches and the larva feeds on the still living paralyzed cicada (fresh meat).  Would make for a good movie!

Cicada Killer coming out of his hole in a bunker.  We do spray for them, but they are very hard to control.  Don't worry, they look mean but are not interested in people.