A good offense is the best defense. That’s why I’m offering my annual reminder to check for lawn grubs. Even if your lawn is greening up beautifully after its summer dormancy, grubs may still be at work beneath the surface.
Grubs are the larval stage of the European chafer or Japanese beetle. They are crescent shaped and white in color with a brown head, and their favorite diet is turfgrass roots.
In June and July, you may have seen big, brown insects flying around. Most people first notice them when they fly into their closed windows and make a big noise for such a small creature. These are the adult European chafers and Japanese beetles. When they hit your window, they’re actually flying around looking for a mate. After mating, the female lays her eggs in turfgrass. As soon as the grubs hatch, they burrow into the ground and begin feeding on grass roots.
Grubs are quite small at this stage of their lives, and relatively easy to control chemically. However, they will soon grow as big as two inches. As the weather gets colder, they burrow deeper into the ground. The bigger grubs grow and the deeper they burrow, the more difficult they are to control. This is why I recommend checking for them now, while they are still small and vulnerable.
As I wrote last week, the way to check for grubs is to cut 12 inch squares of sod at various spots in your yard. Roll back the sod to see if there are grubs present just under the surface. If they are present, count them. Six or fewer grubs won’t hurt the lawn enough to warrant treatment so just put the sod back in place. If there are seven or more, plan to treat your lawn for grubs now. Don’t wait until spring to treat or the grubs will have grown too big over the winter for treatment to be effective.
Garden stores carry several brands and formulations of grub control material. Check the labels to be sure they aren’t harmful to birds or bees. Birds feed on grubs, so you definitely don’t want to use that material. The same holds true for those master pollinators, the bees.
If you would rather leave this task to the experts, call us and one of our lawn care professionals will come to your home, check for grubs, make recommendations for controlling them, and apply the control material for you. The time to act, though, is now.