Grow it Green | Grubs Control Service

White grubs may be the most damaging turf insect pests in the United States. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Japanese beetle, grubs alone cause an estimated $234 million in damage each year — $78 million for control costs and an additional $156 million for replacement of damaged turf. Japanese beetle and masked chafer adults are attracted to turf with moist soil which means they are especially attracted to lawns that get watered during hot dry spells. During the feeding period, female beetles intermittently leave plants, burrow about 3″ into the ground— usually into turf— and lay a few eggs. This cycle is repeated until the female lays 40 to 60 eggs. Moist soils are certainly easier to dig through than hard, dry soils. Eggs will dry up and die under very dry soil conditions. The eggs also die when soil temperatures are around 90°F. Higher soil temperatures are typically associated with drier soils, as well as high air temperatures.

White grubs are the larval stage of many different beetles, including the Japanese beetle. The grubs live below ground and feed on the roots of tender grass plants that soon kills the plant. They are most destructive mid-late summer, but the damage they cause may not show up until early fall and by then, it’s too late.

The best time to control grubs is in early summer, just after they hatch. At this time they are very susceptible to treatment and just before they start causing extensive damage to your lawn.

Grub control options

Option 1: Biological white grub control: Bacterial Milky Disease

The bacterial milky diseases, Bacillus popilliae Dutky, has been quite effective at controlling the grubs in certain areas of the eastern United States. The spore count must build up for 2 — 3 years to be effective and during this time you should not use an insecticide against the grubs that are needed to complete the bacterium cycle. In Ohio and Kentucky, test trials have not produced satisfactory results. Additional experiments are needed to determine the lack of efficacy of milky disease in these soils.

Option 2: Biological white grub control: Entomopathogenic Nematodes

Parasitic nematodes have recently become commercially available. Products containing strains of Steinernema carpocapsae (Biosafe, Biovector, Exhibit, Scanmask) have been marginally effective against white grubs. Preparations containing Heterorhabditis spp. seem to be more effective. Apply the nematodes when the white grubs are small. Irrigate before and after applying the nematodes.

Option 3: Chemical white grub controls: Insecticides

White grubs are best controlled when they are small and actively feeding near the soil surface, usually late July to mid-August. However, with the development of new grub control chemistry (e.g., imidacloprid [Merit] and halofenozide [MACH2]), applications in June and July have sufficient residual activity to kill the new grub populations as they come to the soil surface in late July through August.

Control of white grubs in late-fall or early-spring is difficult, at best, because the grubs are large and may not be feeding. Only trichlorfon (Dylox) and carbaryl (Sevin) formulations are available for such rescue treatments. The key to good control is to make an even application and water thoroughly.

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