Grubs are nasty creatures. They are ugly and have invaded from Asia and Europe. The beetles they turn into aren’t exactly George Clooney, either! Their most redeeming feature is that they make a nice lunch for skunks, crows and voles. And these creatures may not be the ones you want crashing your next garden party. Studies at Cornell have shown the most commonly used pesticide to control grubs, imidacloprid or Merit, kills a lot of other species in the soil as well. This includes springtails and the beetles that eat grubs and grub eggs. The biological community in your soil gets hammered when you use this stuff. Studies cited in Science magazine link imidacloprid to the demise of the honey bees.
I hate to see someone get grubs in their lawn. It can be unsightly and a little disheartening. Usually the spots are small, and we can just reseed those areas. I think there are fewer grubs in organic lawns, where the soil has a more diverse biological population.
We have plenty of grub recovery lawns that have gone through our 12-step soil improvement program and haven’t had a grub problem for years. Out of our 750 lawns last year, we had 20 or 30 grub infestations, most of them small. There is no reason to apply imidacloprid to every lawn every year, as they do in many lawn programs. We have continued top dressing problem areas with compost the first week of July when the beetles are laying their eggs. Last year, we top dressed 15 lawns with grubs in 2011. Thirteen had no grubs in 2012.
Think you have a grub problem? Looking for a more organic lawn care program? Give us a call at 781.937.9992 or send us a note to set up a consultation.
Photo courtesy of kafka4prez on Flickr