Chafer larvae can cause devastating damage to lawns. We supply microscopic beneficial nematodes (eel worms) which are watered into the lawn.
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Some of the Chafer damage is caused by the grubs chewing at the roots of the grass, but much of it is caused by birds and animals scratching away at the soil searching for the juicy grubs.
The grubs hatch out to become flying beetles - sometimes called May Bugs because they typically emerge in mid May. These beetles lay eggs in June which hatch out in July to eat grass roots until October. They typically dig deeper into the soil over winter until they surface in April/May before they pupate to fly, mate and lay eggs again.
Identifying the larvae
We get many calls from people whose lawns are being destroyed by grubs, and the first thing they notice is that the birds, badgers and foxes are digging away at the grass. Our advice is to go digging in the bare patches and try and find what the birds are digging for. Once you get a sample you can make a positive identification and buy the right treatment. The two most common grubs in the lawn are chafer grub and leatherjackets and it is really quite easy to see the difference. Chafer Grubs are white grubs with a brown head, not unlike Vine Weevil grubs but bigger and shinier with distinct pairs of legs at the front end. They can easily be distinguished from leatherjackets which are more wormlike, without obvious legs or head.
Biological control with parasitic nematodes Heterorhabditis megidis, microscopic beneficial nematodes (eel worms) which are watered into the lawn. They enter the chafer bugs and poison them so that they will die within a few days. The best time to apply chafer grub control is at the end of the summer, when the newly hatched grubs will be at their most vulnerable. However if you find after a warm spring that the grubs are a problem even before they have pupated in May, then you may want to treat them at the beginning of the season. The treatment may be more effective in Autumn than in spring, but if your lawn is suffering then some treatment is better than none.
Instructions for use
The nematodes arrive in a paste or gel. Mix them vigorously with water and apply to the lawn following the instructions on the pack. The grass should be moist before the application and should be irrigated directly afterwards to wash the nematodes into the soil. It should be kept from drying out over the next 2 or 3 weeks, or the nematodes will dry out too. They do not harm any humans, birds or animals.