A healthy, well looked after lawn is a beautiful thing, but like any plant, lawn can have it’s share of problems. There are many insects and pests that like to attack your lawn and can potentially cause significant harm. Knowing what lawn pests are out there in the lawn bug world will keep you ahead of the game and better equipped to deal with any unwanted grubs.
Root Feeding Grubs
Cockchafer, lawn beetle larvae or scarab beetle are all root feeding grubs. These insects are only in the young juvenile stage and feed on the lawn roots. White curl grub also feeds on lawn during the juvenile stage, however, it is sometimes incorrectly referred to as ‘witchetty grub’. These are entirely different insects.
Adult lawn grubs feed on the roots of your lawn and can be a serious problem. Cool season varieties like fescue and warm season varieties like kikuyu and couch can experience major damage from a nasty infestation, but they are not usually an issue for buffalo varieties. Stressed, undernourished lawns are also particularly prone to damage.
Adult beetles are black and shiny, about 15mm long with brown serrated legs. The eggs are laid in spring and early summer, developing into larvae that then feed on the roots. The pupal stage causes no damage, but the emerging grubs in late spring/early summer do. The beetles are dormant or semi dormant in winter.
A small infestation of black beetle can provide benefits to some lawns, for instance buffalos help the soil with their tunneling activity and stimulating new root growth, but if you see damage, it’s best to send them packing.