Based on trends in the latest annual bluegrass weevil research, Syngenta has expanded its WeevilTrak monitoring efforts into Kentucky for the 2021 season.
ABW is one of the most troublesome insects for golf course superintendents in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, and its impact continues to spread, most recently into Kentucky. To help superintendents monitor and control this pest, the annual WeevilTrak program provides solutions and timing application recommendations, plus digital tools and ongoing insights from trusted researchers through the WeevilTrak blog.
“This season will be a critical foundation for building a library of information about ABW behavior and management specific to the state of Kentucky,” said Matt Giese, technical services manager for Syngenta. “What we’ve recognized in recent years is that ABW can cause turfgrass injury outside of the geographies we typically associate with it. While establishing the new sites will certainly be most useful for superintendents in Kentucky, it should also prove useful to superintendents outside the state.”
Jonathan Larson, Ph.D., assistant professor at the University of Kentucky, will lead monitoring in Kentucky. Larson said superintendents in the state have asked him about ABW since at least 2019 and that he expects it to become part of the state’s pest profile.
“Having WeevilTrak sites in Kentucky will help us establish protocols and tailor recommendations to our unique situation,” Larson said. “With access to nationwide experts, data and the wealth of ABW experience that WeevilTrak offers, superintendents in Kentucky will be able to better assess their situation and target this tough-to-control pest.”
Three Kentucky courses have been added as monitoring sites for the 2021 season:
- University of Louisville Golf Club in Simpsonville, Kentucky
- Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky
- Houston Oaks Golf Course in Paris, Kentucky
Along with the expansion into Kentucky, Syngenta made several site shifts in the Mid-Atlantic and added courses in the Northeast. New sites include:
- Farmington Country Club in Charlottesville, Virginia
- Butler Country Club in Butler, Pennsylvania
- Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland
- Monroe Golf Club in Rochester, New York
- Woods Hole Golf Club in Woods Hole, Massachusetts
- Elmhurst Country Club in Moscow, Pennsylvania
The latter two sites represent the WeevilTrak monitoring program’s reentry into the Cape Cod and Rochester, New York, areas.
The program’s research team is also welcoming and saying goodbye to several members this year. Alejandro Del-Pozo, Ph.D., assistant professor of entomology at Virginia Tech University, is joining and will oversee ABW monitoring at The Federal Club in Richmond, Virginia. Meanwhile, two researchers who have been part of the team since its inception in 2009, have retired.
“We’ll miss the contributions of Dr. Stan Swier and Dr. Pat Vittum, whose insights helped establish WeevilTrak as the valuable tool it is today,” said Mike Agnew, Ph.D., Syngenta technical services manager. “We wish them nothing but the best in retirement and are looking forward to working closely with Dr. Jonathan Larson, Dr. Alejandro Del-Pozo and the rest of the team this season.”
Other ABW monitoring and control tools available for 2021 include:
- Ference insecticide is now approved to control ABW on golf course turf in Kings, Queens and Suffolk counties in New York under a Section 24(c) Special Local Need label. Golf course superintendents on Long Island must make applications in accordance with the Special Local Need Label and must have a printed copy of the Section 24(c) label in their possession at the time of application.
- The Syngenta Optimum Control Strategy outlines a proven ABW treatment protocol that can help manage resistance as ABW control applications are planned.
- WeevilTrak text alerts provide timely updates on local ABW progression.
- The WeevilTrak blog features insights from 11 industry-leading ABW researchers led by WeevilTrak managing consultant Steve McDonald with 240 blog posts from the past six seasons. Subscribers can review this library for ABW information and receive valuable updates from new blogs throughout the season.
- Secondary course monitoring provides additional localized stage-progression information.
- A growing degree day model is designed specifically for ABW.