Saturday, June 22, 2024

Gardening: White grubs in Texas

By Karen Gibson

Do you have disgusting fat white worms in the top few inches of soil in your flower beds or in your lawn? Do you have patches of dead grass in your lawn? You may have white grub larvae, sometimes called grubworms.

A resident armadillo population would take care of them for you, but most of us have already run off the armadillos in the neighborhood.

Should you treat them with pesticides? Texas A&M says to dig up about a square foot of grass. If you find 5 or more, then it’s worth treating. If there are fewer than that, the pesticide risk outweighs the damage of a few grubs. But the timing of the treatment is critical.

White grubs eat roots in the larval stage. The larvae are creamy white, C-shaped, and have three pairs of legs. The larval stage begins in late summer and continues until spring. You should treat white grubs when they are small (about 1/2”) because the big ones are much harder to kill.

By springtime, they are already large and are pupating (or metamorphosing) into adults. As pupae, they cease feeding, so treatment is both ineffective and unnecessary. Soon they will emerge as June bugs, those annoying brown beetles that fly into the lights in the summer. They will mate for a few weeks and then return to the soil where the process repeats. In North Texas, that would be July or August, and that is the optimum time to treat.

If you decide to use any recommended pesticides, avoid treating just before a heavy rain is forecast to avoid the pesticide being washed away and potentially causing pollution downstream.

Happy Gardening!

CTG Staff
CTG Staff
The Cross Timbers Gazette News Department

Related Articles

Popular This Week