Grubs worms are the immature feeding stage, or larvae, of certain beetles which are short, thick, and shaped like the letter ‘C’. Grubworms, like other white grubs, have a brown head and a cream-colored body. They have a characteristic “C” shape when found in the soil. The fact that they crawl around on their backs distinguishes them from most other white grub species. These white grubs are voracious feeders.
Grubworms are voracious feeders, and in most cases are the larvae of Japanese beetles or Green June beetles. After the beetles mate during summer, they lay eggs, quit flying around, and die. Soon after, the eggs hatch. The grubworms feed in the soil during the warm days of fall. As the soil temperature falls, they burrow deeper to spend the winter. Depending on the weather, they may be higher or lower in the soil when spring arrives. Then they will be back up near the surface and feeding on grass roots again.
White grubs eat organic matter including the roots of plants. Therefore, damage first appears to be drought stress. Heavily infested turf appears off color, gray-green, and wilts rapidly in the hot sun. Continued feeding will cause the turf to die in large irregular patches. The tunneling of the larvae cause the turf to feel spongy under foot and the turf can often be rolled back like a loose carpet.
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