Your lawn. It’s the first thing that people see when they visit your home and the last thing they see as they’re driving away. You pride yourself on the fact that everybody says that you have a beautiful lawn. It’s lush, green, and the perfect place for your family and friends to gather. Unfortunately, it’s also the place that some non-friends like to gather. To you and your family, it’s a relaxing haven to escape from the cares of the world and the long work week. To lawn pests, it’s lunch….. And breakfast and dinner, too, especially to lawn grubs aka white grubs. Finding out if the problem with your lawn and gardens could be grubs is fairly simple. You can do it yourself by just peeling back approximately a square foot of turf or simply scraping back the top soil layer in your garden or flowerbeds. Then, you just have to look for the presence of grubs.
What are Grubs?
Grubs are actually the larvae of several different types of beetles. They are small, white and C-shaped. They don’t look like something that could do a lot of damage but they are and they do. And, where there’s one of them, you can bet that they’re are a ton of them. They feast on the roots of your lawn, as well as on any organic matter in the soil which your lawn needs for deriving nutrients. This causes your lawn to die while the grubs are growing and prospering. Then they will become adult beetles, have a coming out party where they mate, and then lay more eggs that will hatch and become a whole new generation of grubs to further kill your lawn. It’s an endless cycle unless you do something to effectively eliminate them. Many homeowners all over the country, and especially here in Georgia, have some dead spots on their lawns caused by grubs and don’t quite know what to do about it. So, we’re going to give you some more info about them, tell you how to identify them, and how to get rid of them.
The 3 Most Common Lawn Damaging Bugs with Grubs
Grubs are generally recognized as the larvae of 8 different kinds of bugs but the ones that cause the most damage to lawns are chafers, June beetles, and Japanese beetles. The majority of these scarab beetles only have a life cycle of a year with the exception of the June beetles and their longer three-year life cycle. And, most of these bugs will lay their eggs during a two or three week period at the beginning or toward the middle of the summer season. They lay them in turfgrass because it is the perfect environment for the eggs to hatch and have an immediate continuous source of food. The bad news is that those eggs only take around two weeks to hatch. The even worse news is that those hatched grubs start feasting on your lawn immediately after hatching. To help with identifying the three bugs that are responsible for your grub problems, here’s a bit of info about each one:
Japanese beetles are considered to be exotic scarabs that were originally found in New Jersey. They measure about 7/16-inch long. Their fronts are a dark metallic green color and their wings are covered in dark tan. They also have five tiny hairy white patches on the sides of their abdomens. Those patches can generally be a key characteristic for identifying Japanese Beetles. If you see a beetle without those patches, then it is a False Japanese beetle.
Japanese beetles not only love laying their eggs on lawns but they love feeding on the foliage and flowers of roses even more. If your garden only has a few Japanese beetles, you can get rid of them by shaking the branches and letting the pests fall into a jar that is full of soapy water. Remember, however, that you might not get them all and any beetles in your yard will attract more beetles, so professional pest control treatment by your local lawn care service as an integral part of your turf care is usually the best option.
At three years, these beetles have the longest lifecycle of all the beetles that cause white grub infestations. They’re a very common and very prolific pest. As their name indicates, they show up in June and you’ll often see them hanging around your porch at night. They are also Scarab beetles, just like the other two, and they vary in size. The larger ones are sometimes referred to as May beetles in some parts of the country and they require three or four years to grow to adulthood. They love to feed on the roots of your lawn and garden and are capable of causing a great deal of damage.
Another sub-species of June beetles is the Green June Beetle, which is mostly a shiny metallic green on top and bottom with brown edges. They can reach an inch long and their larvae, i.e. grubs, can be as long as two inches. They can feed voraciously on the roots of your lawn, as well as the roots of your ornamental plantings. Once the larvae become adult beetles, they also feed on your fruit trees, eating everything from apples to pears. And, if you happen to have a vineyard, better watch out because they also love grapes.
Since all species of June beetles are lawn pests, they spend the majority of their lives underneath your lawn. This is why proper lawn maintenance is so important. You can lower the population of June beetles and their grubs by having a healthy lawn and a comprehensive lawn care plan.
Chafers aka Masked Chafers are a very common June Beetle and are even more common that the larger of the species, including the Green June Beetle. And, in spite of their smaller size, they can be even more destructive to your lawn and garden due to the sheer number of them. It takes them two years for the process of growing from egg to adult Chafers, which unfortunately gives them more time to destroy your lawn while they are in the larval stage ie. white grubs. So, we know what they look like as grubs but what do they look like as adults? Well, believe it or not, there are actually a number of types of chafers and this is what they look like:
~ The Brown Chafer- reddish-brown in color and around 15mm long
~ The Garden Chafer- blue-green head, brown wings, up to 12mm in length
~ The Summer Chafer- reddish-brown and also up to 12mm in length
~ The Rose Chafer- bright metallic green and up to 20mm long
If you see any of these beetles flying around your yard, you can bet they’re mating and laying eggs that will result in damaging grubs. That’s why a professional lawn care service is your best defense against their utter destruction of your once beautiful yard.
Leading Consumer Brands
Major insecticide brands are everywhere, which can make it very difficult to decide which one to use. To that end, we have reviewed several of the best known and most effective brands:
Bayer is a highly regarded manufacturer of many popular products, including insecticides and the company recommends scouting your lawn late in the summer. Just dig a few sections of sod approximately a foot square and two to four inches deep. If you have any grubs, you’ll be able to see them there as they feed and here are some guidelines for treatment:
~ Less than five grubs- No treatment necessary
~ Six to nine- No treatment necessary unless you find that animals are digging up your lawn to eat the grubs and/or your lawn is not very healthy.
~ Ten or more- Treatment is recommended since they could be very likely to start creating visible damage to your lawn.
~ Treat with Bayer Season-Long Grub Control with 1.47 % Imidacloprid active ingredient or Season-Long Grub Control Plus Turf Revitalizer with 0.25% Imidacloprid active ingredient plus 6-0-1 fertilizer.
Sevin is another widely known manufacturer of insecticides and they make a product called Sevin®-5Ready-To-Use 5% Dust. It can kill more than 65 insects in lawns and gardens and that includes Japanese beetles, grubs, and June beetles. They make another product that is also quite effective and that one is Sevin®Lawn Insect Granules for pest control on a larger scale. You can simply load your spreader with it to apply. With the first, you should water pre-application and, with the latter, water post-application for best results. Both products are nonsystemic, so they don’t penetrate plant tissue. The active ingredient in both products is carbaryl, which can be toxic to humans and can cause carbaryl poisoning in pets, so be sure to read the directions very thoroughly.
Ortho has a new product called Ready-To-Spray Ortho® Home Defense® Insect Killer for Lawn & Landscape. It provides three months of pest control and creates a bug barrier within just minutes of application. This includes Japanese Beetles and the active ingredients are 0.3% Bifenthrin with 0.075% Zeta-Cypermethrin. Ortho also offers another effective pest control product called Ortho® Bug B Gon® Insect Killer For Lawns & Gardens available in a Ready-To-Spray, Dial N Spray® Hose End Sprayer, and granules for three months of protection.
Spectracide offers three products for lawn and garden pest control that are all Triazicide. They include the Spectracide Triazicide Insect Killer For Lawns & Landscapes Concentrate, granules, and Ready-to-Spray Hose End Sprayer. They all kill 260+ insects on contact for three months of protection using the active ingredient Gamma-Cyhalothrin 0.08%. Spectracide products must be handled carefully to avoid toxicity to humans, bees, fish, and pets.
Hire a Lawn Care Service
For the most effective treatment of white grubs and other lawn and garden pests, hiring a professional lawn care service could be your best option. Not only do we have access to commercial grade products that require a license to use but we can also treat your entire yard quickly and affordably. This way, you don’t have to be concerned about what is in your pest control treatment or how to apply it. It’s all done for you so that you can spend your time enjoying life with your family and friends.