In this area of Florida, it’s not unusual to look around your back yard and find spots of dead or dying grass. If these spots are yellow or brown in color it may be an indication of a grub infestation. Grubs are the larvae of scarab beetles, June beetles, Japanese beetles or May beetles. These beetles lay their eggs in the soil and the grubs, after they hatch, will eat the roots of the grass in order to grow.
If you have a grub infestation, you will probably notice the damage to your yard in a three or four year cycle. In an average cycle, the eggs will hatch shortly after being laid and the larvae pretty much stay underground eating the roots. The second year is when you will see the largest damage as these larvae really start munching on your grass and plant roots in order to grow. In the third year, the grubs pupate and become beetles. The adult beetles do not feed on the grass or roots, but they will feed off trees.
Grubs are also a tasty snack for other pests, such as birds, wasps, raccoons, skunks, moles and armadillos. Any lawn with enough grubs is going to attract plenty of other critters. If you do notice some larger pests attracted to the grub worms in your yard, treating the grub problem will also take care of the other animals.
Some of the most common signs of grub infestation include the yellow or brown spots on the yard or plants that had been thriving suddenly starting to wilt and die. You may be able to easily pull up plants and sections of your lawn because the grubs have eaten the roots that hold the plants and grass down into the earth. Even if you water and feed enough, you still won’t be able to revive these dying sections.
You may also be able to see the grubs if they are close enough to the surface to feed on the roots. They look like white worms and are in the shape of the letter “C”. They’re usually about two inches long and have three pair of legs near the head of the worm. The head is a usually a brown color and the tail end of the worm may also be darker if they have eaten dirt.
If you suspect a grub infestation, it’s always best to contact a lawn care professional. Since there is a three to four year cycle for these bugs, you want someone to effectively target the eggs, the larvae and the pupae. You may need a multi-year or multi-modal treatment plan, especially since the grubs will burrow deep underground when the weather gets colder.