Japanese Beetle Lifecycle1

Grubs: The Lawn-Eating Machines

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Just a few weeks ago, we wrote about lawn diseases and weeds that can make your lawn less than the perfect golf course look-a-like you’re aiming for.  This time of year also warrants a mention of a lawn enemy that’s a little bit more active (and honestly, more gross to most folks) than a tuft of crabgrass.  That’s right, GRUBS. There are plenty of insects out and about in your lawn at any given point, but the most prevalent (and thus most important) lawn-eaters here in Rochester are the Japanese beetle and European Crane fly.  Let’s take a closer look:

The Japanese beetle, from egg to grub to beetle and back again (Photo courtesy of turf.uark.edu).

The Japanese beetle, ready for its close-up, from egg to grub to beetle (Photo courtesy of turf.uark.edu).

And though the final insect looks nothing like the Japanese beetle, the European Crane Fly is similar in terms of its grub habits, and thus lawn damage:

European Crane Fly, up close and personal (Photo courtesy of www.docstoc.com).

European Crane Fly, up close and personal (Photo courtesy of www.docstoc.com).

So now that we know what they look like, we can get to understanding how something so little can cause so much damage!  And it all comes down to eating — a grub’s only job is to feed and feed and feed in order to either plump up for overwintering, or after the thaw, to have enough energy as a pupa to emerge as a beetle.  The Japanese beetles of course spend plenty of quality time munching on your tomatoes and roses in the summer (old habits die hard), but the damage to your lawn comes from the grubs eating the roots of the grass throughout the spring and fall.

Life cycle of the Japanese Beetle (Photo courtesy of http://www.arbordoctor.net).

Life cycle of the Japanese Beetle
(Photo courtesy of http://www.arbordoctor.net).

Same goes for the European Crane Fly:

European Crane Fly Life Cycle Chart (Photo courtesy of www.docstoc.com).

European Crane Fly Life Cycle Chart (Photo courtesy of www.docstoc.com).

Lawn damage can also come from skunks and other critters trying to get at the grubs in the lawn for their own snacking pleasure:

Skunk and grub damage in a lawn (Photo courtesy of www.maine.gov).

Skunk and grub damage in a lawn (Photo courtesy of www.maine.gov).

So now that we’re all properly annoyed at what these pests are doing to our lawns, it’s time for the solution.  For this time of year, we recommend Arthroban Grub Control — it kills the newborn grubs so that they don’t even start feeding on the lawn you worked so hard on this spring and summer.  It’s a granular product that can be easily applied with a spreader.  Then just water it in and let it do its work underground!

If you would like more information on grub control (or if you’re happening across this blog in the future and not in Autumn 2013), give us a call and we’ll be happy to explain further.  Usually the damage is done by the time you see it (though there is always something you can do), so a bit of proactive control this fall will go a long way in protecting your lawn from grubs and their insatiable appetites!

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