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Chafer Grubs

What are they?

Chafer grubs live in the soil underground and stem from the larvae of chafer beetles. The have long white bodies, with brown heads and three legs located on each side of its head. They are most common in lawns from autumn through to spring time. The damage is caused as they can sweep entire lawns, eating at the roots and stunting plant growth.

A sudden interest from wildlife to your lawn can indicate an infestation of chafer grubs, or a decline in the colour of your grass to a more straw-like dull colour. If you pull at the grass and it uproots from the ground easily, this means that it isn’t firmly rooted from the damage caused by chafer grubs.

How to get rid of chafer grubs?

This is a time-consuming and expensive process that has no chemical control available, as the chafer grubs are simply too large in size for any pesticide to take effect. Below outlines the non-chemical actions to eliminate chafer grubs.

  • As the dead grass won’t be rooted to the ground from the pest, it is easy to pull back and allow birds to feed on the chafer grubs.
  • Or they will get cold and sink further into the soil, meaning that they can be dealt with at a later date.
  • This means that the damaged grass can be repaired by sowing grass seed or laying turf.
  • To biologically control chafer grubs, pathogenic nematodes can be used to attack the larvae with infection. This required the lawn to be hydrated to work effectively, so before and after application the lawn needs to be watered.

However, it is important to note that the application of nematodes can eliminate the chafer grubs but lead to a nematode infestation.

How to prevent chafer grubs?

To prevent the occurrence of chafer grubs, it is necessary to:

  • Maintain your lawn effectively throughout the year through feeding, watering and moss avoidance, as damaged gardens are more prone to pests.
  • It’s difficult for the chafer beetle to lay her eggs in dense lawns with tight and deep root networks.
  • Search the soil around your gardens plant pots for larvae, as they feed on the roots of ornamental bushes.
  • On agricultural land, crop blankets prevent chafer beetles from accessing the soil, while still allowing energy and moisture to your crop.

Under no circumstances is the use of pesticides necessary, as it will not eliminate the grubs, but can kill off the bugs needed for plant growth.