Seven different turfgrass species or mixes used on golf courses in the United States' transitional climatic zone were maintained as randomized and replicated plots in separate stands mowed at fairway (1.6 cm) or rough (6.4 cm) cutting heights and sampled in autumn to assess the density and species composition of scarab grubs; incidence of disease and parasitism thereof; and extent of turf damage from foraging insectivorous skunks, Mephitis mephitis. Influence of grass species on parasitism by spring or autumn-active tiphiid wasps was further assessed on implanted grubs in open enclosures. Masked chafers (Cyclocephala spp.) were three-fold more abundant than Japanese beetle, Popillia japonica Newman, grubs in plots of Zoysia and Cynodon sp. mowed at fairway height, and P. japonica were five-fold more abundant than masked chafer grubs in cool-season turf plots mowed at rough height. Phyllophaga spp. accounted for <1% of grubs in the samples. Milky disease bacteria (Paenibacillus sp.) were the predominant pathogens of Cyclocephala spp., followed by Serratia sp. bacteria and gregarines (Stictospora cf. villani). Cyclocephala grub densities, milky disease incidence (25%), and parasitism by the native tiphiid Tiphia pygidialis Allen (10–12%) were especially high in zoysiagrass. Japanese beetle grubs were infected by Paenibacillus, Serratia, Stictospora, and microsporidia (Ovavesicula sp.), but incidence of individual pathogens was relatively low (<6%) and similar among grasses within each stand. Few nematode-infected grubs were found. Skunk damage was mainly in the cool-season fairway-height grasses, probably reflecting difficulty in foraging in the much tougher stolons and rhizomes of the warm season turfgrasses. The degree of natural suppression of scarab grubs provided by endemic pathogens or parasitoids is unlikely to be compromised by the grass species used on a particular site.
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Vol. 105 • No. 4