Battling Ground Pearl Infestations in Australian Bowling Greens

Ground Pearl, also known as Margarodes spp., is a tiny insect that has proven to be a problem on bowling greens and other turf areas in Australia. These pests are more commonly found in warmer regions, particularly in the coastal areas of Queensland, New South Wales and other northern states, however, there are now reports that even southern states are experiencing these pests. Ground Pearls can be detrimental to turfgrass health and the quality of bowling greens, in particular.

Ground Pearls are insects that infest the soil and feed on the roots of grasses. Their feeding activity weakens the grass, making it more susceptible to stress, drought and other environmental factors.

Ground Pearls thrive in warm and humid conditions, which are common in many parts of Australia. These insects are most active during the summer and can cause severe damage to turfgrass during this period.

Indigo Specialty Products, based in Brisbane, has just launched an Australian-first! An insecticide designed and labelled for the eradication of Ground Pearl, called ProForce Scarlet Trio Advanced Insecticide.

Indigo’s Business Development Manager, Tim Kennedy, said not only is Scarlet Trio a first for Australia, but is also one of only two insecticides in the world labelled for Ground Pearl. He says since launching this product in Australia, customer feedback has been excellent with great results being achieved.

Colin McPherson, Head Greenkeeper at Club Tweed and President of the Queensland Bowling Greenkeepers Association, said: “Mid-season results from the targeted program of Indigo Specialty Product’s ProForce Scarlet Trio Insecticide applications conducted to date at Club Tweed, have shown great promise.

“We have seen a large reduction in Ground Pearl numbers in treated greens which have been monitored since July. I look forward to seeing how we end up at the end of summer after a full season of using strategic Scarlet Trio applications in our insecticide program.”

Tim Kennedy also added, in addition to using Scarlet Trio Insecticide, Indigo Specialty Products also recommends that customers address the following issues:

1. Improve soil aeration to discourage infestations.
2. Avoid over-irrigation to reduce favourable conditions.
3. Choose resistant grass varieties.
4. Maintain the green with mowing, fertilisation and pest monitoring.
5. Collaborate with experts to develop an integrated pest management plan (IPM).

Ground Pearls have a protective, hard, pearl-like covering, which makes them difficult for many natural predators, including birds, to consume. Tim said, “so far, bowling greenkeepers around the world have struggled to deal with Ground Pearls, so now they have a solution that we know works”.

Ground Pearls found on bowling green at Mermaid Beach, QLD

Ground Pearls found on bowling green, Mermaid Beach, QLD

 

 

For further information:

Tim Kennedy
(m) 0460 628 602

 

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