The sound of June bugs colliding with your windows has probably faded now but they’re on the verge of causing real trouble in your yard. These big beetles were no match for the windows that got in their way, but their kids could destroy your lawn.
Those pesky beetles we call June bugs are adult Japanese beetles and European chafers, and they were just looking for love. In their adult form, their only job was to reproduce. With that accomplished, the females lay their eggs in the turf of nearby lawns.
Upon hatching, the little grubs immediately burrow into the ground and begin dining on turfgrass roots. They continue their feast until the ground begins to cool in preparation for winter. As the soil cools, the grubs burrow deeper into the ground, where they’ll overwinter.
When the ground begins to warm next spring, the grubs will again make their way up to the lawn’s root zone and continue the feast they began last fall. They’ll continue eating and growing until it’s time for them to pupate and morph into a new generation of June bugs.
The best time to check your lawn for grubs is now through the end of September. This is when they’re smaller and weaker and will require less aggressive treatment to control them. Waiting until spring may require a more aggressive approach to knock out the larger, stronger grubs.
To check for grubs, cut several 12-inch squares of sod in different parts of your yard and fold them back. Grubs are white, crescent-shaped, soft bodied creatures. If there are six or less in each hole, they don’t pose a threat to your lawn. Seven or more warrant an application of grub control.
Garden stores and home centers sell grub control material for the do-it-yourselfer. One brand is even manufactured locally. Or you can leave grub control to our lawn care professionals, even if you aren’t on a lawn care program. One final caution: don’t assume you have no grubs just because you didn’t see any June bugs. They fly significant distances before depositing their eggs.