Lawn Grubs: A Threat To Your Grass
What are Grub Worms
Lawn Grubs, often called White Grubs, are the immature form of different Scarab Beetles, such as Japanese Beetles, June “bugs” or the European Chafers. These white, C-shaped creatures have soft bodies with legs near the head. They feed on grass roots , causing sections of grass in the lawn to die. A white grub eventually turns into adult Beetles and emerge from soil to mate and lay eggs.
Most Scarab Beetles have a one-year life cycle June Beetles have a three-year cycle. Timing varies by Beetle species and region, but generally adults emerge from soil, mate, and lay eggs over the course of two to three weeks in early to midsummer.
Depending on soil moisture and temperature, eggs hatch about two weeks after being laid, in mid-to late summer. The new generation of root-munching pests begins feasting immediately after hatching. Peak feeding occurs in early fall. Typically, the pests operate a few inches below the soil surface, but burrow deeper before winter arrives.
Symptoms of Grub Feeding
As your lawn greens up in spring, keep an eye out for brown patches that never turn green. Those dead patches may be due to Grub feeding that occurred the previous fall.
What do grubs eat?
Irregularly-shaped dead patches appear in your well-irrigated lawn in late summer or early fall. Check your turf using the technique just mentioned.
Some Are Okay
Treatment: Timing Is Key
Helpful Tips to Prevent Grubs in Your Lawn
How To Check For Grubs In Lawn
Before you start treating, it is important to check to make sure that indeed there are grubs damaging your lawn. Irregular brown patches of dying grass are the first sign. If you see the patches, lift the turf to check for the grub worms.
Take a shovel and dig a square foot about 3 inches deep and lift the turf to check for grub worms. If you find one or two grubs is normal and healthy, but if you find 5 or more grubs, you have a grub worm infestation that needs treatment to prevent further damage to your turfgrass.
Do I Have A Lawn Grub Problem
Lawn grubs can be present in your lawn but cause absolutely no problems. But how do you know if you have a real lawn grub problem?
Since grubs eat grass roots, the lawn will be easy to pull up in chunks. If its still firmly rooted, then you have another problem, such as brown patch or dog urine damage. Heres a good test, from the University of California Integrated Pest Management Program: Pull up about 1 square foot of the earth around the base of your sod . If you notice more than 6 grubs in this space, its a good time to consider preventive methods or treatments to reduce overpopulation.
Shetlar, however, recommended that lawn lovers should be even more vigilant, especially in order to prevent large critters from eating them. When talking about the maximum threshold of tolerance for grubs, I always chuckle about , in that skunks and raccoons havent read about this threshold.
As such, it may be worthwhile for homeowners to be just a little warier on account of skunks and raccoons. Shetlar added, If there are four to five grubs per square foot, thats usually enough for them to be digging around.
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How Do I Treat For Grubs In My Lawn
After fertilizer and grass seed, grub control products are typically the most prominently displayed and commonly stocked lawn care product at garden centers. For many homeowners, grub control products are an important part of the annual lawn care routine.
More often than not, people are surprised at how much there is to learn about grubs, and how many misconceptions there are about them and the damage they can do to lawns. This blog, accompanying a live video we produced in the field, addresses some of the common questions we get at the UNH Extension Infoline about grubs.
To Deter Lawn Grubs Dethatch
But what are the most effective options for sustainable-minded lawn owners?
Preventive methods top Shetlars list for fighting grubs nonchemically. I emphasize a lot especially to lawn care and sport field managers to keep the thatch down to a minimum, Shetlar said. His key to this: fertilizing ones lawn with nitrogen only once per year, and doing it very strategically and judiciously, to quote Shetlar, usually in late October, early November.
He also mentions research from a University of Kentucky entomologist suggesting you should choose one species of turfgrass over another.
Professor Daniel. A. Potter has conclusively shown that the tall are much more tolerant of grub populations, said Shetlar, who then added, Where Kentucky bluegrass and perennial ryegrass will be damaged with eight to 10 grubs per square foot, the tall fescues usually require somewhere around 12 to 14 grubs per square foot before showing damage.
What about those common organic recommendations for killing lawn grubs online, such as milky spore disease or beneficial nematodes? The commercial milky spore disease is only for Japanese beetles, Shetlar warned. Even then, milky spore disease is a weak pathogen that results in 20% to 25% infection at best.
As for beneficial nematodes, Shetlar said, Theres a very steep learning curve to using the insect parasitic nematodes. They can only be effective when used curatively, and even then, only on small affected areas.
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Are More Animals Hanging Out On Your Lawn
If you do notice increasing animal activity in your lawn, that could be a sign that the animals are enticed to a grub population in the yard.
Visiting animals can cause other problems too. Your grass may take a hard hit as the animals may dig and toss dirt to hunt for grubs. So, do keep a close eye on the animal activity going on your lawn.
Effective Lawn Pest Control
Lawn pest damage often goes unnoticed and unchecked until major damage occurs. Fortunately, you can quickly and efficiently control and prevent pests such as cutworms, armyworms, sod webworms, grubs, and chinch bugs with the help of GardenTech® Sevin® brand insecticides.
Sevin® Insect Killer Granules kill more than 100 insect pests by contact, working above and below the surface. This highly effective answer to lawn pest problems won’t harm plants, blooms or lawn when used as directed. Use it on fruit and vegetable gardens, ornamental and flower gardens, and around your home as well. Plus, it keeps killing insect pests and protecting for up to three months.
Sevin® Insect Killer in ready-to-use, ready-to-spray and concentrate liquid forms also treats more than 500 types of lawn and garden pests, including damaging moths and beetles. Tough on pests, but gentle on gardens, these liquid forms also work by contact and provide up to three months of continuing protection.
A pest-free lawn is a pleasant place for family and friends to gather and enjoy your outdoor spaces. Keep an eye out for these common turf nuisances and act promptly when they strike. With the help of GardenTech® brands and Sevin® garden insecticides, you can control common lawn pests and stop them in their tracks.
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Look For Lawn Grub Damage
Signs of Grubs in Lawn
- Grass with damaged roots will begin to thin, yellow, and die.
- Irregular patches of brown grass will appear in random places in your lawn.
- Grass will feel very spongy and will pull up very easily. Since the roots are damaged, the turf will often roll up like carpet.
- Grass will be very vulnerable to drought and other stressors.
- Another sign of the presence of white grubs in your soil is an increase in activity of raccoons, moles, and birds digging in your turf, and even certain wasps flying low to the ground in your lawn. However, these animals also eat other insects and earthworms in the soil, so you should still inspect your turf/soil for the grubs before treatment to make sure you have white grubs.
Signs Of Grubs In A Lawn
Thinning grass and patches of dead grass, especially in lawns that are fertilized and well-watered, are some of the first indications of a grub infestation. The patches get bigger over time. If your lawn is infested with grubs, the grass will also be fairly easy to yank out of the soil with a few tugs. Turfgrass weakened by grubs is also more susceptible to drought damage and weeds.
To determine if grubs are behind the demise of your lawn, grab a shovel and peel back a chunk of grass that is 12 inches wide and 12 inches long. Count how many grubs you see. As a general rule, chemical or biological treatment for grubs is only necessary if you count 10 grubs or more per square foot of lawn, according to the Missouri Botanical Garden. Be sure to replace the grass you removed, says the University of New Hampshire Extension.
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How To Know If Ive Got Lawn Grubs
It is important to know the signs of having lawn grubs so that you can identify the problem early and remove these pests sooner rather than later.
Addressing your lawn grub issue promptly will limit the amount of damage they can inflict and the sooner your lawn can look green and lush again.
These pests can be identified by their white, C-shaped bodies, they have an orange coloured head with three legs on either side of the head.
Grub Detection And Monitoring
If you observe areas in your lawn that are not greening up or appear to be dying, it is important to scout to determine if grubs are present. To do this, use a shovel to dig approximately three-inches deep around a one-square-foot section of the lawn. Pull the section of the grass back and examine the soil for the presence of grubs or adult beetles. We recommend scouting around the border of the injury, as the grubs arent typically present in the areas that are already severely damaged. The threshold for grubs in lawns is five-to-10 grubs per a square-foot area.
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Does Laundry Detergent Kill Lawn Grubs
Yes, Laundry Detergent can kill lawn grubs. Mix some amount of laundry detergent in an ample amount of water to make a solution.
Spray this solution on the affected areas of the lawn. Youll see grubs coming onto the surface, theyll die eventually.
This solution is not harmful to your lawn but is a good way to eliminate pesky lawn grubs.
Lawn Grubs Life Cycle
While there are variations depending on which species of beetle they come from, the larvae tend to be stout, white-to-grayish with brown heads, about 3/4 of an inch to 2 inches in length. These lawn pests tend to curl up in a C shape at rest.
The grubs get their start when the adult beetles lay eggs in your turf, usually in spring. After the eggs hatch, the grubs evolve in three stages, with grub damage greatest in late summer, when you will see areas of your lawn thinning and yellowing. Later, irregular brown patches appear in your turf.
There are two major white grub species that cause problems in Ohio. Thats the Japanese beetle and the masked chafer, said Shetlar about his home turf.
Japanese beetle grubs are widespread invasive insects, and their white grub larvae are bound to be found in lawns all over the country too, not just Ohio. Other chafer species besides the masked chafer beetles also lead to white grub infestations and can establish in lawns beyond the states borders.
Other types of common lawn grubs around the United States include the larvae of the May and June beetles, green June beetle and the black turfgrass ataenius.
Its irrelevant which species it is, advised Shetlar. They cause the same kind of damage.
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Related Guide For How Do You Know If You Have Grubs In Your Lawn
How did my lawn get grubs?
The grubs get their start when the adult beetles lay eggs in your turf, usually in spring. After the eggs hatch, the grubs evolve in three stages, with grub damage greatest in late summer, when you will see areas of your lawn thinning and yellowing. Some of it manifests as dry and deadened looking patches in your lawn.
Why do I have grubs in my yard?
Grubs can be found within your lawn during the late summer months after the beetles have laid their eggs around July. Female beetles lay their eggs about one or two inches deep in the soil. By devouring the grass roots, they begin to kill off patches of your lawn, leaving it brown in certain areas.
How often should you spray for lawn grubs?
Treating tips when spraying for lawn grubs:
Always spray in the late afternoon/evenings Spray a second time 7-10 days later to break the lifecycle. Donât spray if rain is likely as you will only need to reapply.
What are the blackbirds eating in my lawn?
Does grub need prevention?
Grub control measures need to be taken on annual basis to work consistently. Skipping a year may be fine, but if any beetles have laid their eggs in your lawnâs soil over the course of that last year, you can be looking at a seriously damaged lawn by mid-fall.
What Do White Grubs Look Like
White grubs are the larva, or young, of several kinds of beetles. The European Chafer and Japanese Beetle are two of the most common in the Toronto area and throughout Ontario.
The adults breed through the early Summer and lay eggs in your lawn, which hatch in mid-to late-August and begin to feed, causing grub damage to occur.
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Chemical Ways To Get Rid Of Lawn Grubs
Chemical control is sure to kill off your lawn grubs, but it comes at a costusing these treatments can kill beneficial insects, too. There are two types of chemical treatments.
Natural Ways To Get Rid Of Lawn Grubs
You can pursue two organic options for getting rid of lawn grubs before turning to chemicals. These are safer for the environment and wont harm beneficial insects, but they will take longer to be effective. In some cases, it may take years for the natural treatments to fully eradicate a lawn grub colony.
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Simple Grub Control Options
- Birds: Do what you can to attract birds to your yard using bird feeders, bird baths and nesting homes. Birds eat bugs including grubs.
- Beer: Another lawn control option that is said to work is to set a beer trap. Use an old plastic bowl approximately three inches deep by six inches in diameter. Dig a hold so the bowl fits to where the top lip of the container is at ground level. Pour beer in the bowl.
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Animals such as raccoons, skunks, moles, and other rodents will feed on lawn grubs. They will strip away your grass or dig tunnels underneath in search for one of their favorite delicacies.
Important note: Many of these animals including birds also dig your lawn to find earthworms. Always confirm that grubs are present before pursuing a lawn treatment.
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Are There Brown Patches On Your Lawn
When your lawn is under attack by grubs, the grass will turn brownish and thin. You may notice these brown patches in your lawn more during late summer or early fall.
Grubs amp up their eating during this period. Hence, the damaged and dead grass becomes more and more visible. Factors like drought or disease also cause brown patches on lawns. To confirm if the brown patches are or arent signs of grub infestation in the lawn, contact Amherst Landscaping.
What Are White Grubs
Lawn grubs, also known as white grubs, are the larval stage of several species of beetles. As seen in the photo, their bodies are white with an orange/brown color head and often appear in the shape of a C. They live underground in the soil which means they can be difficult to detect. It only takes a few short weeks for a grub-infested lawn to be completely destroyed.
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Reseeding After Lawn Grub Treatment
Dead lawn patches should be reseeded. For me, its currently too late in the season. So Ive cleared out most of the patches, treated the lawn with Scotts GrubEx, will also soon spread Winterizer fertilizer and then reseed in the spring. And hopefully, my yard will remain grub free!
This is Sharyns Slant.
What Are The Common Signs Of Grubs
Lawn damage from grubs can often be mistaken for other forms of damage. It is important to know what you are dealing with. Some signs of grub damage to a lawn include:
- Brown patches in the spring
- Randomly shaped dead patches in late summer and fall
- Your lawn feels spongy
- Damage from skunks, raccoons, or birds
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Prevention Is The Best Solution
Grubs will often target the healthiest looking lawn on the street as their next tasty meal. When lawns get attacked by grubs, they often will have already created extensive damage. Following an attack, the lawn can take a few weeks or a few months to fully repair itself. Instead of going through the long process of nursing your lawn back to health, prevention is a far better solution.