At some point or another, it’s inevitable for a gardener to run into white grubs in garden plants or wriggling around in the soil. The fleshy, white pests not only look gross but they can also seriously damage vegetable plants. White grubs are the larval stage of beetles, and they consume plant matter to help them grow into full-fledged bugs, which can in turn also harm plants that could otherwise bear fruit or vegetables or simply look nice.
White grubs can be very destructive, and because their mischief occurs beneath the ground, their presence may not be suspected until after the damage is done. A wide range of plants may be attacked by the plump predators; corn, small grains, potatoes, strawberries and onions are especially vulnerable. Small plants may become permanently stunted or may wilt and die, and if the grubs are numerous, even older plants will suffer. The adult beetles feed on the flowers and foliage of trees and shrubs, and although they’re not usually as destructive as the larvae, the mature beetles are capable of causing considerable defoliation.
Signs of Grub Worms
Grub worms are real pests and can cost you a lot when they damage your favorite (and expensive) plants and flowers.
Even though here at Veggie Gardener, we are mostly concerned with the well-being of our vegetable garden, there is still the need to check the overall lawn as well. If you have grub worm issues in the lawn, then you most likely will have them in the vegetable garden as well.
Here are some of the common signs of grub worm infestation of plants or lawn:
- Droopy leaves
- Green-gray or brown patches on your lawn
- Grass easily “peels” off
- Ground feels spongy to the feet
- Sudden death of plants, grass, or flowers
- Appearance of moles, armadillos, or other pests in your lawn
Why You Should Get Rid of Grub Worms
Grub worms feed on the roots of plants and the other things planted in your garden. Such actions severely affect them and eventually lead to wilting, or the death of these plants.
Roots of plants are very important organs. They are the ones responsible of absorbing water and other essential nutrients from the soil to make the plant grow. With them damaged or eaten up completely, the plant has no other means of absorbing nutrients and water from the soil.
When the roots are damaged, it may not be able to absorb the water and nutrients the entire plant needs to function properly, that is why you see your plants, flowers, and your grass droop, turn brown or gray, and eventually die.
Aside from damaging your garden, when there is a serious grub worm infestation, it will attract other animals or pests that feed on them, making the problem even more serious.
Examples of such creatures that eat grub worms are armadillos, gophers, and moles. Though these creatures eat grub worms, they leave nasty burrows and instantly damage your lawn or garden.
How to Get Rid of Grub Worms
Beetles usually lay their eggs during early summer. After these eggs hatch, they turn into nasty pests, known as grub worms. Grub worms then tunnel underground and feast on the roots of plants and grasses until the winter or fall season.
If you will notice, this sort of problem is like a cycle and it seems that there isn’t a permanent solution to get rid of them.
It is a cycle because these grub worms will soon mature and turn into adult beetles, and again, laying eggs in your lawn or garden that soon will become grub worms.
There are several ways to get rid of grub worms, but you must know that there is no permanent solution, nor a feasible plan to prevent them from coming back. The key here is being vigilant and knowing when the beetles in your area start laying eggs.
Surely there are pesticides that you can purchase and use.
However, you might want to steer away from such chemicals if you have children or pets, or when you eat the ones you plant in your garden or yard.
A lot of people prefer the natural means of getting rid of these pests, there is no need to invest on expensive pesticides. All it takes is a little patience and time.
Natural Solutions For Getting Rid of Grub Worms
Here are the steps to rid your lawn or garden of these grub worms naturally:
You already know you have a grub worm problem, now you have to determine when the beetles start laying their eggs. You can surf the Internet or call your local cooperative extension office to ask such information.
Beneficial nematodes (plant parasitic nematodes are bad for vegetable garden plants, you can visit the Nematodes page to read about them) are the natural enemies of grub worms. They infest and kill these pests. However, they are only effective on young larvae.
This is where your research will come in. Once it is the season of beetles to lay their eggs, purchase nematodes from a gardening store and follow the instructions indicated. Spray on your lawn or vegetable garden.
Using milky spore on your lawn is another natural way to kill grub worms. Just spread on your lawn and milky spore can kill grub worms for up to 10 years.
To offset the damage caused by the grub worms, keep your vegetable garden or lawn watered. Abundant water will help the damaged roots easily absorb water.
Robins and other songbirds love grub worms. Have them in your vegetable garden and you will have to worry less about those pests. This is probably the best long-term solution you have. Encouraging these birds to your garden area is recommended to reduce grub worm populations.
Grub worms are serious pests especially to those vegetable gardening enthusiasts. These solutions will help you get rid, or at least keep the grub worms under control. You don’t have to worry about contaminating your garden with chemicals since you won’t need any at all.