Adult beetles usually begin to lay eggs in lawns in late June through early July in our region. One female beetle can lay as much as 40 eggs, with the eggs staying 10 -14 days in the soil before hatching. (Eggs need water to survive - so drought will cause mortality while watering your lawn may increase hatching).
In Central Ontario, larvae of June beetles and European Chaffer beetles are the prevalent pests, with the larvae of the Japanese beetle not yet a major concern. Of course, there is only one Wagner Volkswagon Beetle, hatched in 1970 but still driving around! It would be considered a beneficial beetle!
European Chaffer larvae; similar to the June Beetle larvae, but a little smaller. Problems in lawns occur when the turf is infested with large numbers of grub that feed beneath the surface on the roots of the grass. When grub populations are very heavy, areas of the grass can be lifted and rolled up like a carpet. This is because the grubs have eaten the roots so there is nothing holding the grass to the soil.
A sign of grub activity killing your lawn is the browning of the grass, and a sponginess to the turf when you walk on it. This occurs when the grub devour the root system leaving space for soil compaction, so when you walk on the area, it sinks slightly.
Another sure sign of the presence of grub are the presence of skunks or racoons. These animals consider grub a delicacy and will rip and tear the turf to find a delicious meal of the larvae. While this is a good natural control of grub, often the lawn is torn so badly by the animals the grass will die and it takes hours and hours of grooming to get your lawn back in shape.
Until 1999, an insecticide called "diazinon", in liquid and granular forms, was by far the most popular and most effective grub control. Applied in the late summer or early fall, diazinon was applied and watered in only when a grub problem became visible - hence damage to the turf had already taken place and could get substantially worse . Despite a relatively low efficacy rate, even when applied at the optimum time, diazinon was the best product available.
However, in 1999, a new product from the Bayer Corporation - "MERIT" - was finally approved for use in Canada. Tested and used extensively in the United States for several years, MERIT boasts over 90% grub control when applied at the appropriate time in the right amount.
Yet, with the Liberal government banning the cosmetic use of pesticides in our province, the safe and effective Merit product is no longer available.
Starting in 2009, Wagner Lawn Care will utilize “beneficial nematodes”. These microscopic living organisms are parasitic to grub. Nematodes applied to your lawn, then watered in, will attack and kill grub. Nevertheless, they are perfectly safe for people and pets! On occasion, two applications of nematodes may be required to control grub infestations.
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“With the cosmetic pesticide ban in Ontario, grub control is best done mid-August thru mid-September in our region.”
Wagner Lawn Care utilizes beneficial nematodes.
Grubs - not really what you want in your lawn! Over the last several years, grubs have become a major problem in certain areas throughout our region. Commonly called "white grub", these pests are the larvae of several beetle species. As the common name implies, they are white to white/greyish in colour with brown heads and dark hind parts. While the adult beetle stage of white grub differ in size, colour and life cycle, the larvae are very similar in appearance - usually "C" shaped and somewhat distasteful.
The effect of nematode application as the dark grub
(Japanese beetle larva) is infected and dying.
Picture taken two weeks after application.
This is compared to a relatively healthy grub
with the creamy colouring.