It’s August in Weber County, Utah, and that means fun in the sun, attending the county fair, and preparing for the upcoming back-to-school season. With so much to do on the calendar this month, you don’t have time to worry about gross caterpillar-type worms ruining your lawn. That’s why Ferta-Lawn is providing you with everything you need to know regarding the two most common lawn surface insects ready to wreak havoc on your beautiful lawn. Read on to learn about grubs and billbugs, two creepy little buggers who pack just enough punch to destroy your turf without blinking an eye. Then discover how to prevent and control both of them.
What Are Grubs?
Grubs are tiny beetle larvae of scarab beetles. They have ferocious appetites and can cause tremendous damage to your grass by munching on it. Here in Utah, the adult moths begin flying around your turf in June, searching for places to lay their eggs. The eggs are buried deep within your soil, making them hard to see or know they are there. The eggs take anywhere from six to 50 days to hatch, but once they do, they begin feeding on the grass roots and devouring everything in sight.
They are creamy white in appearance with orange heads and six legs at the front of their body. About a half-inch in length, they are often seen curled into a C-shape. Their long cylindrical bodies look quite similar to a caterpillar.
What Are Billbugs?
Billbugs also feast on your lawn and can create tons of damage. Billbug adults live inside your lawn’s thatch and leaf litter, and emerge when the temperatures reach 65 degrees or higher. They are often seen walking around on driveways and sidewalks, searching for a place to lay their eggs. They will often “play dead” when disturbed, drawing in their legs and remaining motionless. Adult billbugs are about half of an inch long with hard brown shells. Their larvae look much like grubs. They too, are, cream-colored and often seen in a C-shaped position.
Damage These Lawn Pests Cause to Your Utah Lawn
Both grubs and billbugs feed on your grass. While grubs feast on your turf’s roots, young billbugs eat the crown area of the plant and kill it. A few signs of grub damage include:
- Browning of your lawn where even fertilization and watering will not help
- Spongy areas of your yard
- Garden plants suddenly dying with no other sign of weakness or distress
- Sections of grass roll up easily when stepped upon
With billbugs, the stems of infested plants are easily detached at the soil’s surface, and the ends show evidence of ragged chewing. Their young larvae also produce very distinct excrement around the base of your plants, similar to sawdust. With both of these vile creatures, other wildlife may start becoming attracted to your lawn. Moles, raccoons, skunks, and different types of birds love the taste of grubs and billbugs. Unfortunately, they can cause more damage due to you having to tear up your yard to find them.
What Is the Difference Between Billbugs and Grubs?
The biggest difference between billbugs and grubs is that billbugs have no legs; grubs have six. While the damage these two lawn invaders cause is similar, you can’t roll up your grass the way you can when grubs damage it. Instead, you will see the little piles of white dust around the grass base, as we mentioned above.
How to Prevent Surface Lawn Insects
Maintain a Healthy Lawn
The best way to ensure these lawn crashers do not infest your yard is by maintaining a healthy lawn. Grubs can better destroy a less healthy grass already plagued by climate stressors, including drought, excessive heat, or too much rain. Fertilize with the appropriate amounts needed for your type of turfgrass, water often, but don’t overwater, and mow regularly, keeping your grass at least two inches high to make the grubs work harder.
Members of the Steinernematidae and Heterorhabditidae families, beneficial nematodes are colorless worms already living in your soil. Growing in popularity, they can be used to control certain pests, including billbugs and grubs, with no harmful effects on plants, animals, or humans, making it an environmentally friendly solution. Nematodes release a beneficial bacteria that kills the grub or billbug so that they can feed on it and reproduce. The biggest downfall with nematodes is that the process can be quite horrifying to watch and not for the faint of heart.
Grub/Billbug Preventer From a Professional Lawn Care Service
A better option is to invest in surface lawn insect prevention. Leave the messy work up to the professionals. Save time, agony, and the chance of having to install a new lawn by adding a grub/billbug preventer to your lawn plan.
Get Help From the Professionals at Ferta-Lawn
Ferta-Lawn Can Help! We offer a lawn care program to maintain the health of your lawn and a grub/billbug preventer to help stop these turf munchers from ruining your lawn. Our six-step lawn care program offers the fertilization, weed control, disease control, and care your grass needs to stay healthy and remain vigilant against lawn surface attacks. Our grub/billbug prevention will provide you with the extra protection you need to keep your grass safe and pest-free.
Did you find the above helpful? If so, check out our other blog articles. We add a new article regarding lawn care or pest control once a month. And don’t forget to check us out on social media. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram, and check out some of our projects on Pinterest.