What are Grubs?
Grubs are the immature or larvae form of different bug species like June Beetles, Japanese Beetles, European Chafers etc., The eggs laid by adult beetles’ hatch in to grubs which feed on turf and plant roots, destroying one’s garden.
How to Identify Grubs and their presence?
Grubs have soft body texture and can be identified from their off – white body with brown head and large mandibles.
One of the most unique features of grubs that makes them stand out from other lawn insects is that they have three pairs of legs near their heads and are usually found curled in ‘C’ shape, two inches below topsoil.
One can make sure of the presence of grubs by examining their garden and noticing the following things:
- Sudden browning of grass in certain areas
- Being able to pull out damaged grass with eases grubs weaken the grass by feeding on its roots
- Also, grubs can be seen easily in muds as they can’t crawl too deep.
How to differentiate between Grubs and Beetles?
Grubs transform in to Beetles as they grow but they are quite different from them in the following ways:
|Body colour||Off – white||Differs from beetle-to-beetle|
|Shape||Curled in C shape||Oval or elongated|
|Presence||Under the soil||Above the turf|
Are grubs harmful?
Grubs are harmful for plants as they feed on its roots. Roots play an extremely important role for growth and survival of any plant as they absorb water and important nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium from the soil.
Since plants don’t have any other means of absorbing water and nutrients, damaged or unhealthy roots result in wilting of plants.
Apart from damaging plants and lawns, severe grub infestation can worsen the situation by inviting additional pests such as moles, gophers and armadillos that feed on grubs and damage one’s lawn by leaving behind burrows and waste.
The extent of the damage done by Grubs depends on the severity of the infestation. A minor infestation would result in some brown patches but a major infestation could damage your lawn to such an extent that it can be rolled back like a carpet.
How to Get rid of Grubs without Chemicals & Naturally?
It is not necessary to eradicate grubs as a healthy lawn can withstand six grubs per square foot. However, if you suspect any possible grub infestation, that is, more than ten grubs per square foot, you can remove them naturally by following these steps:
1. Don’t overwater your lawn
Watering your lawn just enough to make it moist and not allowing excess water to collect is a basic step when it comes to grub prevention as it deprives the grubs of excess water which is a primary requirement for them to grow.
For example, Japanese Beetles come surface in late June, feed on plants throughout the Summer and lay eggs that hatch in to grubs in Fall and require water.
If you don’t water your lawn enough, it might dry out and become patchy but also reduce the chances of grub infestation. Therefore, not overflowing your lawn with water is a smart choice to avoid patches and grubs.
2. Plant thick rooted grasses
Planting of turf – type fall fescue decreases grub damage because it has thicker roots as compared to normal bluegrass so grubs feeding on its roots would not cause any major damage.
This grass type is best suited for people living in Midwest as its deep roots can survive in adversely hot conditions with deep watering once every seven days.
3. Use good nematodes as grub predators
Nematodes are microscopic, slender worms that play a crucial role in nutrient cycling as they feed on bacteria, fungi and protozoans and release nutrients essential for plant growth. The two types of nematodes are:
- Good nematodes attach themselves to grubs present in the soil and feed on them.
- Bad nematodes feed on the plant tissues causing damage to the plant.
Good nematodes can destroy 50 to 75% of grubs effectively, which is good enough to avoid any further damage. Since, grubs are easier to remove during late summer or early fall as they are just born and at their weakest, it is best to place them in your lawn every fall.
How to place good nematodes in your lawn?
Good nematodes are available in the market in a powder form. You can add the desired amount of powder depending on the damage caused by grubs in a hose – end sprayer and spray it near the grub infested place.
Since nematodes can’t survive in daylight, you should either water your lawn before spraying so that the nematodes can seep in to soil, or spray them in the evening so that they can work at night.
There are many natural ways to get rid of grubs but one should opt for the most suitable solution as per their requirement.
If you have a small backyard, you can opt for a mid – range solution with long lasting effect. If you have a big backyard, you can opt for something which provides large coverage.