White grub

White grub

Name: Aphodius spp.

Alias: The white grub is the larval stage of various beetles. Adults are often small, shiny black beetles that feed on all types of dead and decaying organic matter and are usually of little concern. The larvae, or “grubs” feed on the underside of plants, especially grasses. They are usually white or cream-colored and located within the root zone of the grass. They are difficult to find and vary in size. Larvae usually come in two waves, one in the late spring and again in the early fall.

Crimes: As mentioned, the larvae eat the roots of grass plants. The damage starts in the early spring but is usually not noticed until mid-summer and can often be mistaken as drought stress to the untrained eye. The dried grass will usually pull up with little resistance because no roots pull up with the grass. Entire patches of lawn can be taken out if left unchecked.

Redeeming qualities: Adults can help break down organic matter such as manure or carrion. Without such insects we would be waist deep in our own filth.

Sentence: The best way to take out grubs is using an insecticide that is designed to kill grubs. Betee now and mid-June is the time to control them. Once you see a problem in July it is too late. Luckily there are several effective insecticides on the market. You should buy an insecticide that has one of the following ingredients: bifenthrin, carbaryl, cholrantraniliprole, clothianidin, or imidacloprid. One option, Beauvaria bassiana, is an appropriate insecticide to use in organic systems. Always remember to read and follow the label instructions.

For more information on dangerous and beneficial bugs, call UI Extension educator Joseph Sagers at 208-270-4031 or email jsagers@uidaho.edu.

Recommended for you