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White Grubs

Danger

Although white grubs can be a problem every year, the most serious damage occurs in regular three year cycles. The greatest damage to crops occurs the year after the appearance of the adults. Since the adults are attracted to trees to feed, they tend to lay most eggs in the higher portions of sod near wooded areas.

Plants affected by grub feeding may suddenly wilt. Grubs can kill small plants and gnaw cavities in root vegetables. Species of white grubs that feed on grass roots cause yellow patches in lawns. In many cases you may be able to lift back dead patches of your lawn like a carpet where grubs have been feeding. Heavy infestations of grubs attract raccoons, skunks, armadillos, opossums, crows, ibis, and other birds, which make holes in the lawn and garden to feed on the grubs.

Did you know?

True white grubs are the larvae of May beetles (also called June Beetles) found in the genus Phyllophaga. Phyllophaga larvae and other larvae of the family Scarabaeidae are often referred to as white grubs, including larvae of the Japanese beetle, annual white grubs (Cyclocephala spp.), and the green June beetle (Cotinis nitida).

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Adults: May beetles are about 015/32 to 063/64 inches long. Most adults are yellow to dark reddish-brown to black, robust, oblong, glossy beetles. Some, such as the green June beetle, are more brightly colored. Larvae: The length of the larvae varies from 025/32 to 1 49/64 inches. Larvae are white with a C-shaped body, brown head, and three pairs of legs. The hind portion of the abdomen is slightly enlarged and appears darker due to the soil particles showing through the body wall. Pupa: The length of the pupae varies from 0 25/32 to 0 15/16 inches long. The pupa is usually white, faint yellow, or dark brown in color. Eggs: Eggs are usually 0 1/16 to 0 1/8 inches in diameter and found encased in soil aggregates. They are small, spherical, pearly white eggs that darken just before hatching.

Phyllophaga spp. and related insects are distributed throughout the United States and Canada. However, the distribution of individual species usually is more restricted.

The Phyllophaga life cycles vary somewhat because some species complete their growth in one year, while others require as much as four years. The common life cycle of the more destructive and abundant of these beetles extends over three years. The adults mate in the evening and, at dawn, females return to the ground to deposit 15 to 20 eggs, 1 to 8 inches deep in the soil. Eggs hatch about three weeks later into young larvae that feed upon roots and decaying vegetation throughout the summer and, in autumn, migrate downward (to a depth of up to 60 inches) and remain inactive until the following spring. The greatest amount of damage occurs as the larvae move near the soil surface to feed on the roots of the plants. These grubs then form oval earthen cells and pupate. The adult beetles emerge from the pupal stage a few weeks later, but they do not leave the ground. The beetles overwinter in the soil, emerging the following year in May or June when feeding, mating, and egg-laying take place.

Is the white grub hazardous to humans?

No there are not hazardous to humans because they feed on plant roots.

 
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