Unlike other common lawn pests, grubs spend their days beneath the surface of the soil, where you likely won’t notice them until your lawn has severe damage. And now that spring is upon us, grubs will awaken from their winter slumber and begin feasting on your grass. That’s why for March’s blog, we’d like to teach you how to identify them and implement grub control.
What Do Grubs Look Like
Grubs are the larvae of Japanese beetles. You won’t see them on the surface of your grass in the larval stage, but you may notice adult beetles. Fully grown Japanese beetles are about 1/3 to 1/2 inch in length with a metallic-green body and head copper-colored wing covers. White hair covers the sides and tips of their abdomens. The larvae are the white grubs that devour lawns. Their bodies are c-shaped with brown heads, visible legs, and are about 1/8 to one inch long. They are close in appearance to the larvae of June bugs, which can also damage lawns.
Japanese Beetle Life Cycle
In winter, Japanese beetles nestle underground in the soil. When spring arrives, their larvae move closer to the soil’s surface, where they can dine on the roots of grass while they transition into adulthood. Adults begin to emerge in June or July and remain active as late as September. As adults feed on the leaves, the damage they inflict causes the grass will emit an odor that attracts more beetles, which is why controlling Japanese beetle larvae before they hatch is so important. Otherwise, your lawn could experience swarms of hungry adult beetles. Female Japanese beetles can lay as many as 60 eggs over the course of their breeding season in late July and August. The eggs will hatch, and grubs dig deeper into the soil to wait for spring, where the cycle starts over again.
Signs You Have Grubs
Increase In Animal Activity
You might think grubs are gross, but for many animals, grubs are a delicacy. If you notice more birds, possums, raccoons, or skunks than usual, it could be a sign of grub activity. These critters will tear up your turf in the search for a tasty treat, leaving you with lawn damage.
Damage To Turfgrass Roots
As grubs chew on the roots of the grass, the blades above the surface will start to brown, wilt, and die off, creating undesirable dead or brown patches in your lawn. Many homeowners mistake dead or dying grass for lack of moisture or nutrients. If you’ve tried extra watering and fertilizer, and things still look damaged, it could be a sign of grubs. Keep in mind that grub damage often has multiple symptoms, so if you have thinning grass, don’t panic immediately. If you notice dead grass in conjunction with the other signs we discuss, it could be time to consider grub treatment.
Turf Is Loose Or Uneven
If you notice a divet in your lawn that wasn’t there before, it could be caused by grub activity beneath the surface. Spongy grass is another red flag. While well-watered grass should feel soft, if you feel like you’re walking on a foam mat, that’s not a good sign. Or your grass could become loose and can be rolled back easily like sod. If you can do this, you should see the grubs in the soil as you peel back the grass.
How To Get Rid Of Grubs
Like all insects, it’s impossible to eradicate the population completely. Having some grubs on your lawn does not mean the end of the world. However, 10 or more per square foot is when you’ll start to notice the damage. There are several ways of keeping grubs under control. Firstly, you should keep your lawn well fertilized and keep the mower height between 2 and 3 inches. This promotes a healthy root system, which is less prone to grub infestation. Treat dead or dying areas with an overseeding application to restore damaged areas, and discourage more beetles from attacking the already stressed grass. Lastly, you should apply an insecticide. What you use depends on the time of year you’re applying it. Products with imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, and clothianidin are good as preventative measures, while Ingredients such as carbaryl, trichlorfon, or zeta-cypermethrin are better for late summer and early fall. Be sure to ask your lawn care professional.
Rid Your Lawn Of Grubs With Help From Showcase Lawn Care
There’s no need to put up with destructive insects on your lawn. The experts at Showcase Lawn Care are here to help! Our grub control program effectively eliminates these annoying bugs so your grass can thrive and grow undisturbed. Give us a call today at (763) 425-1200 or contact us online for a free estimate! For more tips on lawn and garden care, pest control, and more, be sure to check out our monthly blog!