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Control decision rule for European chafer (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) larvae infesting turfgrass

Nyrop, J.P., Villani, M.G., Grant, J.A.
Environmental entomology 1995 v.24 no.3 pp. 521-528
risk, sampling, economic threshold, lawns and turf, population density, larvae, insect control, decision making, New York
A control decision rule for European chafer, Rhizotrogus (Amphimallon) majalis (Razoumowsky), larvae infesting turfgrass was developed using data from 317 residential sites. Larvae were often abundant enough to cause damage to turf in portions (patches) of properties when average density over an entire site was much less than a damage threshold of 5-10 grubs per 950 cm2. To account for this, an empirical relationship between the size of the largest patch of European chafer larvae at a site and site-wide density was used in the development of the decision rule. Properties with a patch of grubs in excess of approximately 30 m2 were deemed to require insecticide treatment. Site characteristics (lawn age, shade, and percentage of Kentucky bluegrass) were related to site-wide density and this relationship was used to formulate a risk assessment system. This system is used to determine whether a site should be sampled or not. Properties that are not sampled are not to be treated. Other treatment decisions are based on the outcome of sampling. The relationship between site-wide density and patch size did not allow clear identification of a density that could be used as a threshold in a sampling program. Therefore, several sampling plans were constructed that classified density according to different threshold values. Operating characteristic functions were used in combination with the aforementioned relationship between density and patch size to calculate two types of errors for each sampling plan: the probability of not treating when treatment was necessary and the probability of treating when treatment was not required. Based on these error functions, a threshold of 0.25 grubs per 11-cm diameter turf plug was advocated. Use of the proposed control decision rule should result in few treatment errors but could lead to considerable reductions in pesticide use.