Control And Treat Damaging Grubs On Your Lawn

grubs

Going to the hardware store on the weekend is something many homeowners do, especially in the spring. People stock up on fertilizers, weed control products as well as controlling insect pests in and around the home, and in landscape, gardens and lawns.

In regards to insects, it is estimated that there are over 1 million identified species of insects and probably several times that number is yet to be discovered. Fortunately, there are only about 2 dozen species of insects that feed on lawns. It is hard to say which of these insects are the most damaging, but the species that seems to be the most discussed are white grubs.

What Are Grubs?

Grubs are the larval stage of a scarab beetle. There are several different species of beetles that produce grubs that damage lawns. In the Midwest, Japanese Beetles and Northern Masked Chafers are the most common. The Japanese beetle causes the most damage as the adults feed on many trees and flowering plants and the female adult lays her eggs in turf areas, which then hatch into lawn-damaging grubs.

In the South, Japanese Beetles, Green June Beetles and Southern Masked Chafers are the most common species. In the Northeast, Asiatic Garden Beetles, European Chafers, Oriental Beetles, Northern Masked Chafers and Japanese Beetles are the most common.

Most grub species feed on the roots of turfgrasses in the late summer into early fall. They act like little sod cutters feeding on the roots of the turf grasses. If a lawn is being watered and fertilized on a regular basis, the damage may not even be noticed unless the population of grubs is above 20 per square foot.

The bigger problem is damage that is caused by skunks, raccoons, armadillos and other foraging animals, who rip up a lawn in search of a late-night snack. It is not clear as to why these animals know that grubs are present in a lawn, but most speculation points to either their ability to hear their feeding or smell grubs. Unfortunately, there is no product that will prevent the skunks, racoons, and armadillos from tearing up a lawn.

Treatment for Grubs

Good grub control requires the material be applied at the appropriate time. Most grub control products are insect growth regulators that prevent grubs from getting larger. Therefore, it is critical that the material is applied before the eggs hatch.

Look for products that contain certain active ingredients to control grubs. Chlorantraniliprole, Imidacloprid, or Trichlorfon will help control grubs and surface insects, prevent grubs from growing after they hatch or will control existing grubs if its actively feeding in a lawn. Products with these ingredients need to be watered in to move the solution into the soil where the grubs are active. Note that grubs will still be present for several weeks before they are completely gone.

Applying an insect or pest control in the spring is usually not recommended as the grubs are not feeding enough to ingest enough of the material to kill them. The best thing to do is to make sure you apply a grub preventative in early summer to avoid a problem with grubs later on. The solution will prevent the eggs from hatching or growing in your lawn.

Contact your local neighborhood Spring-Green lawn care professional to assist with grub damage on your lawn areas. They will provide you with the program and products to help keep your lawn free from grubs.

It’s Time To Treat For Grubs!

Lawn with trees

Did your lawn suffer damage from grub activity or small animals such as skunk’s, raccoon’s or armadillo’s? If so, these small animals dug up your lawn to snack on grubs…

Grub 101

  • Grubs are the larval stage of scarab beetles. 
  • There are at least 10 species of grubs that are pests of home lawns. They are considered the most destructive of all lawn inhabiting insects.
  • Of the native species, the Northern and Southern Masked Chafers, May beetles, and green June beetles are the most widespread.
  • There are four accidentally introduced species:
    • Japanese beetle – the Japanese beetle is the number one insect pest as it can damage plants and lawns during two life stages.
    • Oriental beetle
    • European Chafer
    • Asiatic Garden – the Asiatic Garden beetle has regional significance, mostly in the Northeast US.
  • The adults feed on over 300 plants including roses, linden trees, garden beans, grapes and even poison ivy.
  • The larvae feed on the roots of all cool-season turfgrasses, causing significant damage to lawns.
  • The type of damage that the adult Japanese beetles inflict on the leaves is called skeletonizing as they feed on the tissue between the leaf veins.
  • If populations are high enough, they have the ability to defoliate a tree in a few days. The tree will not die as a result of this attack and generally the tree will regrow enough leaves to survive.
  • The adults of the Asiatic garden beetle, green June beetle, and May beetles also feed on an assortment of plant materials, but usually not to the same extent as Japanese beetles.
  • The European Chafer and North and South Masked Chafer adults do not feed on any plant material during their life stage. The adults may not feed, but the grubs, especially of the two Masked Chafer species, can do significant damage to a lawn.

Damage Control

There are several options for controlling grubs before they damage your lawn. If you choose the chemical option or try one of the biological controls, be sure to read and follow all label directions.

Many of these products need to be watered within a short period of time after the application to be effective. Grub control products from hardware or home improvement centers work best when applied prior to the grubs laying their eggs. The material needs to already be in place when the larva hatch to provide effective control. You can also contact a local Spring-Green office to schedule this service for your lawn. Applying a grub control is good insurance against these lawn damaging insects.

Have You Started Seeing Grubs In Your Lawn This Year?

grubs

I recently received a call from a Spring-Green Franchise Owner about dealing with grubs in the spring. He had received a call from a customer who stated that they had grubs feeding on their lawn.  This confused the Franchise Owner and the customer as they both thought that grubs were only active during late summer and fall of the year.

The typical annual white grub female lays her eggs in late spring through mid-summer.  These eggs hatch in late summer/early fall as c-shaped grubs and begin feeding on turf roots, soil, and other organic material that they come into contact while foraging for food.  They will feed throughout the fall and even into early winter depending on the soil temperatures.

As it becomes colder, grubs will burrow down into the soil to escape the frost line.  During the Polar Vortex of 2014, these grubs were found to have dug as deep as 36 inches to stay below the frost line.

In the spring, when soil temperatures begin to warm, grubs will begin rising to the surface, feed a little bit, than burrow back into the soil where they make a small capsule in the soil to pupate and emerge as adults in late spring to early summer. Then the whole process begins again.

Unless the spring is very dry, most people don’t even notice spring grub activity. They don’t feed as voraciously in the spring as they do in the fall. They will still feed on turfgrass roots, but usually the grass is growing quickly and the roots are replaced before any damage is noticed.

Most people will discover grubs in their lawns in the spring when they may add or expand a landscape bed. When the turf is removed, the grubs are easily seen. If left alone, they will dig themselves back into the soil. If there are not too many of them, they can be collected, placed in a bag and disposed of in the garbage.

The other time that homeowners will find grubs is when a skunk, raccoon or opossum start digging up the lawn looking for food. These critters do more damage to a lawn than the actual grubs as they tear it up.

Applying an insect control in the spring is usually not recommended as the grubs are not feeding enough to ingest enough of the control material to kill them. The best thing to do is to make sure you apply a grub preventative in early summer. This material will prevent the eggs from hatching or growing, and then grubs will not be a problem in your lawn.

Contact your local Spring-Green office to inquire about our grub preventative service and how they might be a good fit for your lawn.

Lawn Care 101- Are You Up for the Task?

weedy lawn

Pushing a spreader across a lawn is not all that difficult and spraying a few weeds doesn’t take an advanced degree. Here are some things to take into consideration when deciding between taking care of your lawn yourself or hiring a lawn care company to do the work for you.

No offense to my friends who own lawn maintenance companies, but it does not take much expertise to mow a lawn or use a weed whacker. Most homeowners hire a maintenance company because they are tired of doing the work themselves. However caring for your lawn requires more technical knowledge and knowledge of which products to apply and when to apply them.

When I visit my local hardware store in the spring and I see homeowners looking at all of the different weed control products, wondering which one is the best to use, I feel like I should hold an impromptu training session on which product should be used on which plants and on what turfgrasses.

We have all seen the homeowner who picked the wrong product and ended up with lots of dead spots in their lawn because he used a non-selective herbicide, like Round-Up, on his weeds.

Here are some key questions to ask yourself before performing your own lawn care: 

  1. Do lawns in your area have a problem with diseases or insects?
  2. What diseases and what insects are causing the problems?
  3. Are annual white grubs a problem in your lawn or is it chinch bugs or army worms?
  4. Does your lawn suffer from Red Thread, Rust, Brown Patch, Large Patch or Leaf Spot?
  5. What are the correct products to use to treat these insects or diseases?
  6. At what time of the year should they be applied?

Besides buying the right products, you also have to purchase the correct application equipment for the products you plan to use. Make sure to consider these things before heading to the store:

  1. Do you want to use a drop spreader or a broadcast spreader?
  2. Should you purchase a 1-gallon or 2-gallon handheld sprayer or use a hose end sprayer?
  3. What amount do you apply? Most products have labels that provide the application rates, but sometimes the rates are listed as a range, like 4 to 8 ounces per 1,000 sq. ft.
  4. What does a 1,000 sq. ft. look like?
  5. Do you know how big your lawn is so that you can purchase and apply the right amount?

Caring for a lawn may seem like an easy task, but there is a lot more to it than most people realize.  If you want a nice looking lawn, hire a lawn care professional.  It will actually save you money in the long run.

Interested in having your lawn cared for by professionals this spring? Contact your local Spring-Green for more information.

Active Grubs in December in Green Bay, WI!

Active Grubs

Whether it is due to global warming, El Niño or it is just one of those years when it stays “warm into December,” I received a picture of a lawn with what looks like active grubs in it from the Spring-Green office in Green Bay, WI.  Rick Byers, Assistant Manager for the office sent these pictures in with the heading “December 8 and grubs still active.” They may be present, but I am not sure how much feeding they are doing.

Many grubs dig deeper into the soil when the temperature drops below 50 degrees F. Japanese beetles start to wiggle deeper into the soil when the temperature drops below 59 degrees F. If temperatures stay warm, grub damage may occur.

As you can see from the picture, the bigger problem with the lawn is the damage caused by either raccoon’s, skunks or opossums digging up the lawn looking for a tasty meal.  The grubs may be slowing down and not eating very much, but that just makes it easier for those critters to grab a meal.

The grubs may be present, but applying a control product may not be very effective as the grubs have to ingest the product in order to be controlled. The bigger challenge for the home owner will be repairing their lawn. The best thing to do is push down as much of the turf that was dug up and dormant seed the lawn. Even if nothing were to be done, the lawn would eventually recover on its own. Reseeding should help the lawn look better and faster in the spring.

Insects are amazing creatures and they have the ability to adapt to a wide range of environmental conditions. There are over a million species of insects on earth, but fortunately for the average home lawn, there are only about 3 or 4 different insects that have the potential to do serious damage. If populations are high enough, even one species of insect can cause extensive damage. It is one of the many battles that we in lawn care fight every year.

If your lawn has active grubs that are causing your lawn problems, contact your local Spring-Green professional today!

Controlling and Getting Rid of Grubs in the Lawn

grub up close

If you had a problem with grubs in your lawn last year, this is the time to apply a preventative grub control treatment to keep them from becoming a problem again this year. Waiting until activity is seen to start getting rid of the grubs in your lawn could mean you need a major lawn overhaul. In some cases, it is not as much from the grubs feeding on the root system of your lawn, but from raccoons, skunks, armadillos, or other foraging animals digging through your lawn, looking for an evening snack.

What Are Grubs?

Grubs are the larval stage of a scarab beetle. There are at least seven different species of beetles that produce grubs that damage lawns to varying degrees. In the Midwest, Japanese Beetles and Northern Masked Chafers are the most prevalent. In the South, Japanese Beetles, Green June Beetles and Southern Masked Chafers are the most common species.

In the Northeast, Asiatic Garden Beetles, European Chafers, Oriental Beetles, Northern Masked Chafers and Japanese Beetles as the most common culprits. The Pacific Northwest usually does not have a serious need for grub control, but May Beetles will show up every now and then. Some of these are native to the US and others are imported.

The beetle that seems to cause the most damage is the Japanese beetle, as the adults feed on many trees and flowering plants. The female adult lays her eggs in turf areas, which then hatch into lawn-damaging grubs. The Japanese beetle adults will start hatching soon and begin feeding. In some southern areas, the adults may already be active.

What Do Grubs Eat?

Grubs act like mini sod cutters and feed on anything that is on front of them. They eat soil, roots, thatch, and other organic material. If a lawn is being watered on a regular basis, you may not even know that they are a problem until some skunk, raccoon or armadillo comes along and rips up your lawn.

skunk and raccoon damage

How Do I Prevent Grubs?

In order to get rid of grubs in the lawn, the best defense is to apply a preventative grub control now, before the eggs hatch, to prevent them from becoming a problem. The insect control material has to be watered well in order to move it into the soil where the insect can come in contact with it.

Contact your local Spring-Green office to schedule this important preventative application before it is too late.

Lawn Damage from Raccoons and Skunks: Get Rid of the Grubs!

extensive lawn damage from raccoons and skunks

You’ve nurtured your lawn all summer long, and the effort shows. It’s in glorious condition, so obviously now after all your hard work you can get lawn damage from skunks and raccoons. This is the time of year when skunks and raccoons are busy tearing up lawns looking for a grubs. The damage that they can cause to a lawn can be extensive as they search for a tasty meal. I am not sure how they know that grubs are present, but it may be that they can smell the grubs themselves or the fecal matter that they produce… yum. To get rid of skunks and raccoons, you need to get rid of grubs.

How Can These Pests Damage Your Lawn?

Just like a dog, raccoons or skunks will walk across a lawn with their nose to the ground. Their sense of smell is very acute and they are able to detect smells that humans cannot. Once they locate some grubs, they will tear up the lawn, pulling back chunks of turf in search of more food. They may return night after night, trying to see if there are any grubs that they missed the night before. I encountered a situation once where a raccoon returned to the same lawn the following spring and did a little exploratory digging in search of grubs.

What Kinds of Pests Search for Grubs?

Skunks and raccoons are not the only creatures that will feed on grubs. Crows will search for them as well. They usually don’t tear up your turf to the same extent that raccoons or skunks will, but they still can make a mess of your lawn. I once came across a deer, of all things, looking for grubs by clawing at the ground with its hooves. Grubs are a very popular snack to many different creatures.

What to Do if You Have This Damage?

If your lawn does suffer from this type of activity, there is not much you can do to deter animals from returning. I have read that some people try sprinkling cayenne pepper over the area, but this could result in the pepper getting into the eyes of the animal, causing extreme distress, and they may damage their eyes as they try to get the pepper out. I wouldn’t suggest using that method. If the area is not too large, you can try covering it with chicken wire to frustrate them as they try to dig. Don’t leave the chicken wire in place too long though, as it will become more difficult to remove as the turf grows through the holes.

How to Repair Your Damaged Turf?

Pushing the pulled up turf back into place can be a lesson in futility as the raccoons or skunks will come back again and again until the food source is exhausted and your lawn damage is extensive. From my experience, they will keep returning for about a week or so. Once they are done digging, you can start the repair process. This generally means smoothing the area as best as possible and then overseeding. In the more northern areas where cool-season grasses are grown, overseeding can be done until about the second week of October. Keeping the area watered will also help the grass to regrow as well.

Applying an insect control to the areas where the digging is occurring can be done, but these products are not going to eliminate the grubs overnight. The grubs have to ingest the material in order to be controlled and it takes several days if not weeks for this to occur. The better choice is to repair the area this fall and make sure you apply a preventative grub control application next summer.

If you’re fed up with lawn damage from skunks and raccoons, leave the lawn and pest care to the experts. Enter your zip code to find the Spring-Green closest to you.

Is It Going To Be a Good Year for Grubs?

service_grub-control

I guess the answer to this question depends on your perspective. If you are a homeowner, you hope that it is not a good year for grubs. If you are in the lawn service industry, you want the preventative products you applied earlier in the summer to have worked so the lawns you treated are protected, but you don’t mind the extra revenue that comes from selling grub control treatments, so you are hoping for a good year for grubs. From the grubs’ perspective, I guess they are hoping that it is a good year.

I often check with our franchisees in the areas where grubs are a problem to find out what they are seeing. Our franchisee in Oak Creek, WI, Phil Bowen is seeing active grubs in a couple of his lawns. We are also getting some isolated reports of active grubs in suburbs of Chicago. We have a couple offices in central Iowa and they are experiencing a major drought this year, so they have not seen any grub activity so far. The Mid-Atlantic states may have grubs, but they have had so much rain this year that any grub activity may be masked since the grass is growing well, recovering from any feeding. Damage could be seen if it turns dry for a couple of weeks.

The amount of rain an area receives has a direct effect on grub populations. It is possible that parts of the Midwest that went through a drought last year may have less activity this year as the populations of grubs were down last year. This is because female grubs rely on soil moisture to keep their eggs moist and viable.

Adult female grubs dig a small hole into turf and lay their eggs. If the soil is too dry, the eggs will dry out and die. If this happens over a large area, such as what was experienced last year in parts of the Midwest, the overall populations can be reduced. Granted, there are still many lawns that are irrigated, so plenty of grubs still made it, but overall, the populations can be reduced by drought.

We will just have to wait and see if it will be a “good” or “bad” year for grubs. The cooler spring and early summer may have pushed back the adult emergence, which in turn, may affect when the eggs hatch. Keep an eye out for areas of turf that appear to be turning brown when the rest of the lawn looks good. Do the “tug test” to see if the grass pulls up like a carpet. If so, you may have grubs.

Japanese Beetle Alert!

In case you have not noticed, Japanese Beetles are in full feeding frenzy. If you see leaves of your plants beginning to look like lace doilies, you probably have Japanese Beetles feeding on them. They are easy to identify – bronze wing covers and a row of little tufts of white hair along their back side. If you see them, you may notice that they are often doing what nature intended them to do, procreate. They are voracious feeders and breeders.

They love to feed on grape leaves, flowering shrubs, roses, rose flowers, lindens and an assortment of other trees and shrubs. The female will look for a suitable place to burrow into a lawn, lay her eggs and move on. The eggs hatch into grubs, which feed on the root system of the grass. One advantage of the dry weather is that the eggs, once laid, only stay viable if the soil is moist, as they draw moisture from the soil. If you are watering your lawn, you may have a problem with grubs later on in the late summer or early fall.

Preventing Japanese Beetles

If you haven’t applied a preventative grub control material to your lawn, now would be a good time. In regards to controlling the adults, just about any commercially-available insect control product will work on them. If the adults are feeding on your vegetable plants, be sure to read the label before purchasing the product to make sure it can be used on vegetables and look for the harvest interval between application and consumption.

You may have also seen hawthorn apples covered with orange colored horns. This is due to a disease called rust . This rust is common on apples, hawthorns and quince. It is often called cedar apple rust, cedar hawthorn rust or cedar quince rust. The reason why is that the disease goes back and forth between a cedar tree, like an arbor vitae, and the other trees. It is an interesting disease to read about and if you do a search on one of the combinations, you will be able to learn more about the disease. Controlling the disease requires a series of lawn disease control applications starting in the spring, so it is too late to do much about it now.

It’s Grub Time!

Grubs are the larval stage of a scarab beetle.  There are at least ten different species of beetles that produce grubs that damage lawns to varying degrees.  About a week ago, I saw the adults of the Masked Chafer, a common beetle in cool season turfgrass areas in the Midwest and Lower Midwest including the Chicago area.  They seem to be out a little earlier than normal this year.  The beetle that seems to cause the most damage is the Japanese beetle as the adults feed on many trees and flowering plants.  The female adult lays her eggs in turf areas, which hatch into lawn damaging grubs.  The Japanese beetle adults will start hatching soon and begin feeding.  In some southern areas, the adults may already be active.

The grubs act like mini sod cutters as they feed on the roots of the grass plant, starting in mid-July and lasting well into fall.  If rain is plentiful, the grass plants can often replace the roots that have been eaten and the damage may go unnoticed.  The bigger problem comes from skunks, raccoons, opossums and even birds that tear up a lawn looking for a tasty meal.  They damage caused by these animals and birds are often far worse than what the actual grub will cause.

The best defense is to apply a preventative grub control now, before the eggs hatch, to prevent them from becoming a problem.  The insect control material has to be watered in well to move it into the soil where the insect can come in contact with it.  If you have had problems with grubs in the past, now is the time to prevent damage later this year.