Grubs can seriously damage your lawn! Proper preventative methods can help alleviate the massive turf damage that these underground insects can cause. Grubs cause massive turf damage and require professional lawn treatments.
Grubs are the larvae of a variety of many beetles, including Japanese beetles and June Bugs. These beetles typically lay eggs in July that hatch in about 2-4 weeks. The new larvae begin feeding almost immediately after hatching. Therefore, grub damage typically begins showing mid August and September, although different grub larvae can start earlier or later depending on the type of beetle. A full grown grub is approximately 2”. They usually start out all white and as they grow, develop a dark tail-end (around 3-4 weeks).
After hatching, the grub worms begin feeding almost immediately on the turf’s root system. The higher the concentration of larvae, the more damage to your turf. The damage will appear as wilting and browning grass in irregular shaped areas around your lawn. Since the grubs damage the root system, the turf will become very loose and peel back like new sod. The grub worms will be noticeable under the turf layer once peeled back. Grubs love healthy, thick grass. The healthier the grass, the better the root system, the more appetizing to the grubs.
Since they attack the grass’s root system, any signs of grub damage means the damage is already done and is hard to reverse. Typically at that stage, damage control is the only way to assess the problem with a granular insecticide, like Dylox by Bayer. Dylox is known to be effective and can yield excellent results when applied to prevent and treat lawns infected with grubs. The Dylox is typically applied to the damaged and surrounding area to stop the spread of further damage. The damaged turf typically will not rebound, and the area will need to be raked out and re-seeded in the early spring or early fall leaving large, bare spots in your lawn.
In addition, some animals are also drawn to these areas at night to feed on the grubs. Grubs are a favorite food source of skunks and raccoons (among other animals) and they will dig up the turf to get to them. So in some instances, the lawn will have damage from the grubs and damage from the animals digging up the soil to get to them!
The life-cycle of grubs in the lawn is around a year. As the winter approaches, the grubs will venture deeper in the soil to hibernate. They return back to the root layer again in the spring to feed and develop into beetles around May depending on the location. Although grubs may already be in the lawn feeding in the spring, the lawn will show the most visible signs of damage in the summer when the lawn is the most stressed.
Applying a lawn insect control treatment earlier in the season, like Merit can prevent the hatching and further maturity of the grub worms. Although every lawn doesn’t necessarily have grub worms or eggs, allowing them to hatch (or continue feeding) can prove to be a nightmare. Like going to the dentist, a little proper preventative maintenance can alleviate what can develop into a huge problem. Grub damage is very unsightly in what can be an otherwise perfect, healthy lawn and a little early season prevention can help solve this.