What Is a Grub Worm?

japanese beetles produce grub worms that are harmful to your lawn
Japanese beetles produce grub worms that are harmful to your lawn.

What is normally called a grub worm is actually the larval stage of a beetle. There are several beetles that produce grub worm larvae. The type of beetle usually depends on the area in which you live, although the most common beetles in America to have grub worm larvae are the June bug, Japanese beetles, and the green June beetle.

Adult June bugs and Japanese beetles provide no useful purpose in ecology except as food for toads and lizards. The adult beetles feed on the leaves of your trees and ornamental plants causing further damage. The larval stage of the beetles, the grub worm, can live in your soil for up to three years before emerging to become an adult beetle.

Why are grub worms bad for your lawn?

The grub worm or larvae cause serious damage to your lawn and ornamental plantings because they live by feeding on the root systems of your grass and plants. This results in yellow or brown patches in your lawn. If the infestation is bad enough you can actually roll back the turf in the infested area like carpet. You will generally see grubs in the ground when you are preparing soil for gardens or plantings. If you see more than 5 grubs in a shovel full of dirt you will probably need to treat your lawn.

How can I get rid of grub worms?

The best time to treat your lawn for grub worms is in the fall when the grubs are still small and close to the surface of the ground. You can choose either a chemical insecticide created for grub removal or an organic method of grub removal such as nematodes. The organic method is safer for your lawn and family. Chemical pesticides can kill the grub worms but they can also be harmful to your children and pets, not to mention being hazardous to the environment as a whole.

You may also want to try and reduce the chance of your lawn being re-infested by using a Japanese Beetle Trap. These organic traps lure the adult beetles in before they lay their eggs in your lawn. While they may not completely eliminate the problem of grubs, the traps will cut down drastically on the number of grubs you find in your soil the next year. If your lawn is heavily infested you may want to use both types of prevention and elimination for a year or two.

If you begin to see irregular yellow or brown patches appearing in your lawn you may want to do some digging to see if you have grub worm problems. Given the fact that the grubs can live in your soil for up to three years before emerging to become adult beetles it is easy to see how they can do serious damage to your lawn. The earlier you notice the infestation and take steps to eliminate them the less damage they will be able to do, and the fewer adult beetles there will be to damage the leaves of your trees and shrubs.

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