Have you noticed little white grubs in your soil? White grub worms are a massive nuisance in many homeowner lawns in the United States. Take a deeper look at the grub worm, one of the most notorious pests in home lawns. Once you know more about them and can identify an infestation accurately, you can begin strategizing how to get rid of grub worms and prevent future infestations.
What are grubworms?
Many may be wondering, “What is a grub worm?”. It is essential to know that grub worms, the larvae form of scarab beetles, can be found in many lawns and gardens of North America—especially in Florida’s humid temperate conditions. Since Florida doesn’t endure harsh winters, grub worms can thrive and multiply year-round.
Grub worms, also called white grubs, can be found in the soil damaging lawns by feeding on the roots and thatch of turfgrass. Although they’re called grubs, they’re considered insects because they have six little legs near their bodies’ heads. Certain species can remain in their larval stage for 2–3 years, while some live as grubs for only one year before turning into a beetle.
What does a grubworm look like?
All grubworms have bodies that curve into a C-shape with yellow-brown heads. They have six legs located near the front of their bodies and a dark-tinted abdomen due to soil particles showing through their exoskeleton. A grubworm’s length can range depending on the species of grubworm. They are usually a quarter inch to two inches long and are easily identified with their cream-colored bodies.
How do I identify a grubworm infestation?
Diagnosing a grubworm problem can be difficult if you don’t physically spot it because they live underground. Symptoms of an infestation include general thinning or yellowing of turf, which is very similar to other pest infestations like chinch bugs. One way to determine a grubworm infestation is to step on the turf in the spring and see if it feels spongey or bouncy. You can also try lifting the sod and see if it comes up like a carpet. This means the roots have likely been destroyed. The best way to diagnose a grub worm infestation is to get your hands dirty—get a shovel, dig under the soil and see if you spot any grub worms.
How do I get rid of grubworms?
The best way to control grub worms with cultural practices involves keeping a healthy, well-maintained lawn. Follow a seasonal maintenance schedule for your grass type, ensure it’s growing in healthy soil, install new grass properly, select the suitable grass for your area, aerate, dethatch, mow, and water appropriately. A thick, healthy lawn can better withstand external stress caused by insects and pests. One way to keep a healthy, thriving lawn is to fertilize it with the nutrients it needs.
If your lawn’s damage is severe and the grub worms are not manageable with cultural methods, you can use a chemical treatment instead. There are products available to the homeowner that will kill grub worms, such as Scott’s GrubEx Grub Killer, Spectracide Triazicide, or Dylox 6.2 Granular Insecticide.