Frit Flies in Turf

What is it?

The Frit Fly is a black, shiny insect that is around 2mm in length. In larger populations frit flies in turf can have a detrimental effect. The most damaging stage is when the fly is developing as larva. The larvae cause the most damage by boring their way through the individual grass stems, causing lacklustre growth and patchy areas.

What to look out for

  • Slow growth. 
  • Patchy areas of turf, yellowy in colour. 
  • Seedlings will appear weak.

When does it occur?

The larvae stage occurs through the winter. The larvae then pupate in the spring and emerge as adult flies around March. The next stage is where the adult fly lays eggs shortly after. There can be three generation cycles throughout the year.

Treating and Preventing

  • Spray the turf with pesticide with the chlorpyrifos ingredient.
  • Should be carried out when signs of poor growth or patchy turf areas are apparent. 
  • A great tip to see if you have an infestation of frit flies is by using a plain white piece of paper. Frit flies are strangely attracted to white objects (a reason why they can be irritating for golfers), therefore, you can place the paper on the turf surface to see if any appear. If so, take the appropriate action with pesticides before the population increases.
  • Scarifying and aerating your lawn can help to prevent frit fly lavea and make your lawn stronger. See our blog on aerating for more details. 
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