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How to Get Rid of Japanese Beetles and Grubs in Your Lawn
First it’s important to make the connection that the
white grubs in your lawn will hatch into Japanese
Beetles and if you have Japanese Beetles they will
lay eggs in your lawn that turn into white grubs.
Japanese Beetles can severely damage your roses and
other plants in your landscape because they feed on
the leaves and can almost completely defoliate some
The white grubs ruin your lawn!
They feed on the roots of the grass near the soil surface.
The damage usually shows up when it’s hot and dry because
without a good root system the grasses in your lawn will
start dying. Damaged areas in your lawn feel spongy when
you walk on the grass because of the tunneling that’s taking
place under the surface. If the damage is extensive the
grass can be pulled up like carpet because the roots have
been chewed off.
Skunks, Crows, Grubs and other Critters dig up your lawn
to get at the grubs. In the fall when skunks are instinctively
packing away the food to fatten up for the winter they can
destroy a lawn in one night if it has a heavy grub infestation.
Look for little holes in your flower beds. That usually means
that the birds have been digging for grubs.
During the summer months when the soil is warm the grubs are
usually at a depth of 2″ or less. As winter approaches they
go deeper into the soil and become almost inactive. As soon
as spring arrives and the soil temperatures increase they move
back toward the surface and start feeding on the roots of your
lawn once again.
They eat away for another 4 to 6 weeks, then emerge from the
soil as adult Japanese Beetles and start feeding on your
landscape. As they devour your landscape they start laying
batches of eggs. Usually 20 to 60 eggs total per female beetle.
And the life cycle starts all over again.
You can lift areas of sod in your lawn where you suspect you
might have white grub infestation and look for the grubs.
They are white in color and range in size from 1/2″ to 1″
long. If you have more that 6 grubs per square foot it’s time
to think about a way to control them.
If you opt for a chemical control there are several products
on the market and the best time to apply them is late August
and early September. The white grubs are much easier to
control when they are smaller and closer to the surface
of the soil.
Biological control of white Japanese Beetle grubs can be
achieved by applying the insect parasitic nematode species
Heterorhabditis bacteriophora. You can purchase these
nematodes under a variety of different trade names.
Another biological control is Milky Spore which is actually
bacterium pacenibacillus popillae. However, this is a long
term approach and can take years for the spore to spread
throughout your lawn. It actually requires to ingest the
spores and then as they die their carcass becomes part of
the control to help spread the spores throughout your lawn.
Japanese Beetle Traps! Do they work work? Well . . . the
jury is still out. Most traps use both a sex lure that
attracts male beetles and sweet smelling lure that attract
both sexes. Without a doubt these traps attract a lot of
beetles, but some research indicates that they attract more
beetles to the area of the trap than they actually trap.
That means that plants in the path of the trap might suffer
If you use traps place them near the edge of the property
and well away from plants that are damaged by Japanese
Since there is some biological control that naturally takes
place without your intervention it is recommend that you
only consider chemical control when the infestation is
severe because the chemicals disrupt the natural process
I hope what I’ve given you here helps. It is confusing.
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Take care, enjoy the summer, and stay inspired!