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Lawn Care Pests: What to Do About Grubs

Yards in the Nashville area are suspectable to many different lawn pests due to our mild winters. That’s why our organic-based lawn care plan includes specific treatments for lawn pests like grubs. With our 40-years’ experience with lawn care in Nashville TN, we know that Japanese beetles and masked chafer beetles are the most problematic lawn pests in our area, and they both start damaging yards in the form of lawn grubs.

What Are Lawn Grubs?

Simply put, grubs are the infant form of beetles. The more technical term is beetle larva, but you’ll also hear grubs called lawn grubs, grub worms, and white grubs. When spotted in the dirt, grubs are white, c-shaped, worm-like creatures about ½ inch in length.

The Lawn Grub Lifecycle

How do those grubs get in your lawn in the first place? Each summer beetles burrow into the grass to lay eggs in sunny areas of the lawn. They dig down, lay eggs, and then return to the surface to feed several times, with each beetle laying up to 60 eggs. Yikes!

Once the eggs hatch the following June or July, the grubs stay below the surface and feed on the roots of your grass. This first feeding cycle is when they feed closest to the surface and are the easiest to treat. From late August into the fall, the grubs continue feeding but eventually burrow deeper under the surface making it harder to treat them with insecticides. This is also when you’ll start to notice signs of the grub damage on your lawn.

In the spring, the grubs feed for a short time and then move into the next development stage where they become resistant to insecticides. In the summer, they’ll emerge as beetles and begin mating and laying eggs, starting the destructive cycle all over again.

How Do You Know if You Have a Grub Problem?

The most common sign of a grub problem is patches of light brown or yellow grass especially in the spring when the rest of the lawn starts to turn green. Often this is a sign of grub damage from the previous summer and fall.

However, that’s not the only sign of a grub problem, and by the time you notice brown patches, your lawn will usually have extensive damage from grubs. Instead of waiting for ugly, brown patches to emerge, keep an eye out for these lesser known signs of a grub problem:

  • Grass that feels “spongey” when you walk on it. This is caused by the roots being detached underneath the surface of the grass because of grub damage.
  • Grass that looks torn up or with small holes throughout. This is caused by racoons and other animals digging into the surface to feed on the grubs underneath.
  • Mole problems including tunnels and damage to your lawn. Moles are attracted to yards with grubs and other lawn pests to eat.
  • Beetles flying around your lawn or damaged plants from beetles feeding on them. If you have beetles, you likely have grubs feeding underneath your lawn.

When to Treat Grub Problems and Grub Prevention Tips

Understanding the lawn grub lifecycle helps you know when and how to treat for these lawn pests. Grubs are best treated during their first feeding stage, right after they hatch in July, but even grub treatments into August are very effective at this stage. The key is to treat your lawn in late summer before the lawn grubs retreat deeper under the surface in the winter. At this larval stage, grub treatments include preventative options like imidacloprid [Merit] and halofenozide [MACH2] that both kill existing grubs and prevent new ones from hatching.

If applied at the right time, our grub control treatments will stop grubs from damaging your lawn often with just one treatment. Our trained Nashville TN lawn care specialists will follow up with you to ensure that our lawn pest treatments are working effectively and will retreat your yard as needed to keep it grub-free.

Lawn care for grubs also includes stopping the adult beetles from laying eggs in the first place. In Nashville, Tennessee lawn care, the Japanese beetle is our biggest concern. Our blog post on Japanese Beetles gives some great advice on how to spot Japanese Beetles as well as how to remove them safely from your yard.

Not sure if you have a grub problem? Contact Pure Green for a lawn care evaluation. Our organic-based lawn care methods are designed to give you great green grass in a way that’s safer for your family and pets.