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Insecticide Efficiency in Turf Study at Penn State
Two-Year Field Project

Insecticide Efficiency in Turf Study at Penn State

Pictured is Andrew Huling from Penn State University. Ed Rajotte, professor of entomology and integrated pest management coordinator, and Mary Ann Bruns, associate professor of soil microbiology and biogeochemistry, have also been instrumental in the research. So far, the study has received funding from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America and the New York State Turfgrass Environmental Stewardship Fund.
Photo Credit: Amy Duke

Andrew Huling, a master's degree candidate in turfgrass entomology from the Department of Plant Science at Penn State University, is working with Ben McGraw, associate professor of turfgrass science, on a two-year long study to determine how successful the residual effects of imidacloprid are in fighting against subterranean white grubs.

The National Pesticide Information Center defines imidacloprid as "an insecticide that was made to mimic nicotine." This is because nicotine is "toxic to insects." Their website states that there are over 400 products sold in the U.S. that contain imidacloprid.

Huling and his advisor, McGraw, are currently in the middle of their two-year long research task, which is taking place at Penn State's Joseph Valentine Turfgrass Research Center.

The reasoning behind this research was explained by Huling in a Penn State news article where he stated, "We are hearing from the golf industry that it's becoming harder to control grubs, especially at sites that have used imidacloprid for years. Since grubs spend about 10 months of their pre-adult life in the soil, they can cause a lot of damage if not controlled. We need to find a solution."

The duo's method for testing consists of using several 8-inch diameter plastic pipes placed in turf, each housing 40-50 Japanese beetles. The method is to get the beetles to mate, lay their eggs in the soil and then Huling will spray the areas with different concentrations of imidacloprid to see what conditions are the most effective and which are the least effective.

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August 20, 2019, 9:57 am PDT

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