Emerging Pests of Annual Bluegrass

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Cultivated turfgrass (including lawns and recreational surfaces) covers 12 million hectares in the U.S. Turfgrass is an important source of green space and provides numerous ecosystem services (such as reduced soil erosion, mitigation of heat islands, soil carbon sequestration, and air pollution control). Golf is a major component of the turfgrass industry, with over 16,000 courses in the U.S. Golf courses provide important opportunities for jobs, economic development, and tax revenues. A recent report by the World Golf Foundation stated that golf contributes $62.2 billion worth of goods and services each year to the national economy. Golf courses maintenance in the Northeast and Mid- Atlantic is becoming increasingly complicated by two pests: the annual bluegrass weevil (ABW), which inflicts heavy damage to the visual and functional quality of the turfgrass, and fungal anthracnose diseases that result in damaging leaf blights, leaf rot, and/or root rot. With limited knowledge about these pests and few effective management options, golf course managers increasingly rely on chemical pesticide use. However, pesticides provide limited control of ABW and anthracnose diseases. In addition, increased reliance on pesticides has resulted in a greater incidence of pesticide-resistant ABW and anthracnose fungus populations. Furthermore, the general public is increasingly concerned about pesticide exposure and the potential for water contamination and long-term effects on human health and the environment. Improved pest management strategies can reduce pesticide use, thereby alleviating public concerns and minimizing economic losses in the golf industry. 

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