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White grubs are the larvae of beetles. The larvae are white and all have six strong legs near the head. They vary in other characteristics such as size, head colour, and hair patterns on the body. These grubs feed on roots of various plants. Your garden plants, lawn and even potted plants can be attacked by grubs.
In general, white grubs have a one or two year life cycle, depending on the type of grub.
In Spring, the grubs are fully grown larvae and are actively feeding. In Summer, the grubs turn into pupae and pupate into beetles. This generally occurs around June in Canada. The beetles only live for about a week, mating and laying eggs which hatch a few weeks later. In Fall, the new grubs feed until temperatures drop when they burrow deep in the soil to avoid freezing. The grubs then emerge the following Spring.
Many grubs only cause minor damage, so control strategies are not always required. There are a few grubs however, like the European Chafer, that can cause extensive damage to lawns. The grubs eat the roots of the lawn, and the lawn dies. As few as five grubs per square foot can cause extensive damage. Major damage can also occur when raccoons, skunks, and crows rip the lawn apart while feeding on the grubs.
To control and prevent potential damage, the most important thing to do is to ensure a healthy, robust lawn. This means regular feedings and an annual core aeration to encourage a strong, dense root system. If the lawn has a dense root system, it will be able to tolerate minor feeding by grubs.