Got Grubs? Here’s How To Save Your Yard

Grubs are considered one of the most destructive of all lawn inhabiting insects. They can cause extensive damage in a short amount of time, turning your beautiful lawn into one that is spongy, with yellow and brown patches. Learn more about grubs, how to know if you have them, and how to protect your lawn.

What are Grubs?

Grubs are the larvae of beetles. These young beetles are in their early stage of development and feed on grass roots, doing incredible damage. These milky white worm-like creatures have brown heads and curl into a half-circle when they are disturbed. These larvae (also known as grubs) begin to feed on roots in late summer and feed heavily throughout fall until soil temperatures force them down deeper in the soil where they overwinter. Once soil temperatures rise to about 50 degrees in the spring, they rise to the root zone and begin to feed once more for a brief period before pupating into adults in early summer.

Common types of grubs in Massachusetts include: 

  • Japanese Beetle Larvae
  • Billbugs
  • European Chafers
  • Asiatic Beetles
  • Masked Chafers
  • Black Turfgrass Ataenius
  • May/June Beetles

How to Know if You Have Grubs

Damage typically begins to show in late summer into spring. Seeing grubs is always a tell-tale sign, but there are other ways to spot these pests. Common signs include:

  • Areas of grass with damaged roots begin to thin, yellow, and die.
  • Irregular patches of drought-stressed grass appear randomly on your lawn.
  • Grass that feels spongy, almost like new sod, and can pull up very easily. 
  • Increased level of wildlife activity, such as skunks, digging in your yard

Many homeowners first notice grub damage in the spring, when the snow melts and patches of dead or dying grass become more visible.

What is the Grub Life Cycle?

Understanding the grub life cycle can help you control them. At the beginning of this life cycle, adult beetles lay their eggs in the soil profile throughout the summer months. These eggs hatch into young larvae (grubs) in late summer and begin to feed on grass roots. This is the ideal time for contact control products. These grubs continue to feed throughout late summer and fall before overwintering deeper in the soil profile. Control is harder at this point as they get larger in size and soil temperatures get colder.

After the long winter, when temperatures begin to warm, these larger grubs immediately begin feeding again for a brief period in the root zone. In late spring, they return deeper in the soil profile and begin their next life cycle as pupae. This is the worst time for any control. In early summer, they complete their final life cycle and emerge from the soil as adult beetles. The adults begin to feed on many species of shrubs, trees and flowering plants to provide them enough energy to mate. Mating occurs and this cycle repeats itself each season. Again, this is the ideal time for systemic control products.

When to Call in the Pros

The first step is to determine if your grub infestation is severe enough to warrant treatment. A good rule of thumb is to pull away a one-square-foot area of the damaged grass by hand and see how many grubs you are dealing with. If more than 4-6 grubs are found, it’s best to call in the experts and treat the problem professionally as timing and product choice are crucial for control. Also, based on species and soil temperatures, timing of treatment can change each year.

We’re Ready to Help 

You work hard to maintain a beautiful lawn, don’t let grubs destroy it. The best bet is to contact the pest control professionals at Ford’s Hometown Service to get rid of the problem and help implement preventative measures to keep them away.

Integrated Pest Management

Call the Pros

Seeing grubs in your yard can be unnerving. You work hard to maintain a beautiful lawn, don’t let them destroy it. The best bet is to contact the pest control professionals at Ford’s Hometown Service to get rid of the problem and help implement preventative measures to keep them away.

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