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What can I do about Chafer Grubs in my lawn?

large quantity of chafer grubs in a bucket

How can something so small be such a big villain?

If who haven’t heard of Chafer Grubs, then it really is time to listen up. For those poor souls who have had the misfortune to deal with these nefarious noshers in your lawn then you have our abiding sympathy…Yes, we are referring to Chafer Grubs!

So now we have your attention – what are they?

Chafer Grubs are garden grubs which can cause severe damage to lawns or any grassed area. The small brown Chafer Beetle is harmless and will not cause any damage to your beloved lawn. However, the grubs – which are the larvae of the Chafer Beetle – can be as destructive as a bored child.

Of course, Chafer Grubs are not all bad. They are the staple diet of rare Bats and the equivalent of a Steak & Chips dinner if you are a Badger.

How can Chafer Grubs damage my lawn?

The short answer is very badly. Chafer Grubs cause damage to lawns by feeding (often unnoticed) on the root structure of the grass itself. The problem is usually only detected when natural predators such as badgers or birds tear up the weakened turf. The grubs can also be discovered when renovation work is being carried out on the failing lawn.

How do I know if my lawn has been affected by Chafer Grubs?

Chafer Grubs can go undetected for a long time, with the lawn gradually becoming weaker due to the grubs feeding on the roots. The first sign of an infestation is usually when natural predators start tearing up the lawn to get to the grubs. It is fairly easy to check for signs of the grub by tearing back the weakened turf to a depth of approximately 2 inches. The grubs will be present just under the surface and can be identified as fleshy white grubs with brown heads, growing up to 3 cm long. In general, lawns on sandy or light soil tend to be more susceptible than those on heavier soils.

Can they be treated – and if so how?

We’re sorry but there’s no easy way to put this; If you have been infested by these grubs then your lawn is most likely beyond saving. Anyone whose lawn has ever suffered from a chafer grub infestation will know only too well how difficult it is to eradicate them.

Due to EU legislation on the use of pesticides, Chafer Grubs are very difficult to control.  Sometimes an organic remedy such as Nematodes (Nemasys G), can be effective on very young grubs, providing the application is carried out during August through to September and the soil conditions are very damp. There is currently no effective treatment for mature grubs over one year old and, because available treatments are largely ineffective, most lawn care companies will only carry out these treatments on special request. They come with no guarantee of success.

Are there any solutions I can employ myself?

Given the damage these grubs can wreak, prevention is by far the best way to go. After years of experience, Lawntech have found that Chafer Beetle traps have been a fairly successful way of breaking the cycle – the more beetles you catch the fewer eggs laid on your lawn. Simply hang a trap in the garden at the end of April and leave it hanging though to June. A Pheromone lure is supplied with the trap which lasts for approximately 6 weeks with replacements lures available. Chafer Beetle traps can help reduce the number of active beetles when they start to emerge during May.

How do I restore a lawn suffering from Chafer Grub infestation?

As we said before, if you are unlucky enough to have these little *beeps* in your lawn then there’s probably no way to save it.  Once you have stopped cursing and regained your stiff upper lip, our experts have put together a turf laying guide to help you restore your pride and joy. However, before you replace your lawn we recommend the following process:

  • Kill off the lawn with Glyphosate herbicide to remove the food source for the Chafer Grubs, or dig over the area to remove grass and weeds.
  • Rotovate the area to expose the grubs so that natural predators can easily feed on them.
  • Leave the soil open and fallow for several months, or as long as it takes for the grubs to die or be eaten.
  • Double check that all grubs are gone before preparing the soil for seeding or turfing.

 

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