If you have ever been digging in your garden and have come across a grub worm, you will never forget it. Grub worms are actually the larva of a beetle. In the Austin area, they are the larva of the June Bug. To gain a better understanding of the grub worm, it is good to start with its life cycle.
Grub Worms – Let’s start at the beginning.
In early to late summer, the June Bug will lay its eggs in the soil. This is why you see so many June Bugs flying around light sources at night during the summer months. In late summer to early fall, the eggs hatch. Then, the larva begins to feed on the root system of your turfgrass. This is also the time when skunks, wild pigs, armadillos, and other scavengers go looking for grub worms. They can cause major damage to your gardens, flower beds, and lawn areas. Once the temperatures begin to cool down, the grub worm larva will burrow deeper into the soil to avoid the cold.
Once spring arrives and the soil temperatures begin to warm, the larva will begin the journey to the soil’s surface. Again, the scavengers will be on the hunt for the now plump grub worm. During this period of the life cycle, the grub worm does less damage to the plant roots due to the fact that they are focused on completing the life cycle.
In early to mid-summer, the life cycle is complete. Finally, the grub worm transforms into the June Bug and breaks through to the surface. It seeks a mate to begin the life cycle all over again. The circle of life.
Treating Grub Worms
People often wonder just because they see grubs does this mean they will cause damage? This is a great question. We have found that it takes about 5-7 grubs per square foot in order to cause damage to the root system. This is why when treating for grubs, you should set out to reduce the number of grubs known to cause damage. It is not necessary to wipe out the entire population. If you plan on treating for grub worms proactively, you should target this treatment for early summer. By doing so as the eggs begin to hatch, it will help break the cycle. It is important to select a product that is designed to move down into the soil. This is because the product must come in contact with the grub for optimal results.
If your lawn goes untreated and is affected by grub worms, you will be able to lift the grass with very little effort. This is because they have damaged the root system. It will be important to treat the grub worms. Also, increase water in those areas until the root system has time to heal and regrow.
Now that you have been empowered with this knowledge, you will have a better understanding of what to do and when. So next time you see a grub worm in your garden, take a look at the calendar and create your plan of attack.