The use of pheromones to disrupt mating behaviours is perhaps the most promising method for controlling the sugarcane pest Dasylepida ishigakiensis Niijima et Kinoshita, also known as the white grub beetle. Herein, based on laboratory observations of mating, oviposition and hatching behaviours in the white grub beetle, we suggest guidelines for the timing and length of sex-pheromone release in the field. In the present study, we collected virgin female adults early in the mating season (4 February) in sugarcane fields in Okinawa, Japan and mated them in the laboratory after different time intervals with males collected at the same time. We investigated the effects of delayed mating on mating success, timing of oviposition, female longevity after mating and progeny hatchability. Mating success – defined as the proportion of mated females that produced progeny – and hatchability were not significantly affected by mating delays of less than 31 days, although further delays dramatically decreased these parameters. Female life span and the time between mating and oviposition were unaffected by mating delay. Similar results were obtained for laboratory-reared adults mated on day 45, 60 or 80 after adult emergence. Based on these findings, we propose that releasing synthetic sex pheromones between mid-January (i.e. shortly before the start of the mating season) and late March would be optimal for disrupting the mating behaviours of this beetle in the field.