PPDL Picture of the Week for
October 15, 2012

When a GPS Unit Malfunctions

Timothy Gibb, Insect Diagnostician, Department of Entomology, Purdue University

This photo was submitted from a golf course where it was found tunneling into a green. It is obvious that it is creating some damage but the astute manager was able to find and photograph the beetle in association with the damage. This combination always makes identification and control recommendations much easier.

The insect was identified as a ‘Fancy Dung Beetle’ in the family Geotrupidae: Bolbocerosoma sp. It is closely related to the Scarabaidae (Japanese beetles, masked chafers, June beetles etc) that we are very familiar with. Like the Scarabs, these insects often bore down into the soil to lay their eggs. Usually Geotrupid beetles select areas very rich in decaying organic matter such as in manure and barn yards. However, just like people, every so often one will become completely lost. This one apparently has ended up on a golf green by accident.

You can see that the beetle has created a bit of a burrow and this may be a concern if many of his kind were to do the same thing on a green. However, I think this may be just a random occurrence and the damage, a very isolated incident.

Why it is where it is nobody knows for sure. I suspect that it’s GPS system is simply out of whack.

Click image to enlarge

Fancy Dung Beetle

Purdue Plant & Pest Diagnostic Lab Purdue Cooperative Extension Service