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Fighting grubs: we give advice on the ways in which you can get rid of pesky larvae.

It’s spring again and you spend more time in the garden. This makes it easy to notice how many insects live in it. While some garden inhabitants make an important contribution to life in nature through pollination, there are others that we would rather do without. Such are the beetle larvae, for example, which hatch between May and June, which is why they are sometimes called May and June beetle larvae, and can do a lot of damage in your lawn and garden beds. We’ll give you a few ideas on how to control white grubs.

Fighting white grubs – what you have to consider

Determine species of grubs

Identify and get rid of white grub species with home remedies

The term white grub refers to the beetle larvae of the superfamily Scarabaeoidea. The best known beetle species are the May and June beetles, the garden chafer, rose chafer and rhinoceros beetle. While the larvae of May, June and garden leaf beetles are considered pests, the larvae of rose and rhinoceros beetles are beneficial insects that are very valuable in compost piles. That is why they are “specially protected” species under the Federal Species Protection Ordinance. According to §44 of the Federal Nature Conservation Act, it is forbidden to “capture, injure or kill them, or to take their developmental forms from nature, damage or destroy them.”

Rhinoceros beetle larvae are very valuable in compost piles

It is very important that you can identify the larval species. Rose chafer larvae are slightly thicker in the back than in the front and crawl on their backs. These beetle larvae, for example, can work with fungi and bacteria in compost to help break down organic material, thereby making an important contribution to the formation of beneficial humus. May and June beetle grubs, which have a C-shaped, yellowish-white appearance, are equally thick in front and back and crawl on their abdomens.

Some beetle larvae are specially protected

Damage in the garden

May and June beetle larvae in the garden eliminate


In most cases, the damage done by May and June beetle larvae is minimal, but when the larvae congregate in a cluster, large portions of the lawn can be damaged and dry out due to lack of water and nutrients. Further damage can occur when common predators such as magpies, foxes, badgers and starlings tear up your lawn to find these protein-rich animals lying a few inches below the surface.

Magpies like may and june beetle larvae

If you see brown patches in your lawn during the warmer months, these dead spots may be due to grubs that have attacked and killed your lawn. Check the turf by removing a small piece: If it comes off easily and there are no roots, May and June beetle larvae are the likely cause.

Beetle larvae can kill vegetable beds


These white larvae can also infest vegetable beds and garden borders , they can kill early vegetables, strawberries and bedding plants. Sometimes they also eat potatoes or flower bulbs. Overall, damage by grubs to beds is rarely significant, so don’t worry too much.

What helps against the larvae of the May and June beetle?

Add nematodes to the irrigation water

Add nematodes to watering against grubs

May and June beetle larvae live in the soil, so you need an insecticide that can be watered through the lawn and into the soil where it can reach them. Order nematodes online or find them in stores. They work in a natural way and are easy to use sustainably because their application is fairly simple. You need one pack of nematodes for a lawn area of about twenty square meters.

Fighting white grubs - helpful ideas and tips.

For these types of grubs, which reproduce over a long period of time, you need to treat both the existing larvae and their eggs or newly hatched larvae. You can use a preventative pesticide that will kill the grubs over an extended period of time so that when the eggs hatch, they are killed immediately. Alternatively, you can use a chemical pesticide that will control both the larvae and the eggs that have not yet hatched.

Don’t forget to repair your dead lawns by replacing or reseeding the sod.

Control grubs with home remedies

Fighting grubs with dishwashing liquid

Mix 3 tablespoons of dishwashing liquid in 4 quarts of water. Spray an area of 2 square feet with the mixture. Wait 10 minutes and count the number of larvae. If there are more than five larvae per square meter, the infestation is severe enough to be treated. The grubs will come to the surface where they can be brushed off and eliminated. They make excellent bird food. On larger areas, they can be brought to the surface by first aerating and then soaking the soil with a highly concentrated wetting agent (for example, dishwashing liquid as well).

Borrow chickens if it is possible

Get rid of grubs with chickens

If you can find some chickens, this is a perfect solution to the problem. Let them walk in your garden for a day, because the chickens will peck the larvae out of the ground. It’s a real feast for them and you’ve gotten rid of the May and June beetle larvae.

Fighting grubs with certain plants

Fighting grubs with certain plants - delphinium

The larvae do not like some plants very much – for example, the roots of geraniums , delphiniums and garlic are poisonous to them. Plant them in the garden so you can keep grubs away naturally.

Prevention against root-eating larvae

White grubs in lawn - infested area.

You can’t really control nature, but you can still take precautions. Watch nearby lawns for white grub problems that could spread to your lawns. Be on the lookout for signs, especially during wet weather. Look for signs of spongy lawns or dead patches. Always treat the problems immediately so you don’t have to get rid of possible beetle larvae later.