Question from Elin:
How to get rid of organically besides digging out? Did last year, back again!
Answer from Pat:
White grubs are the larval form of various beetles and bugs, such as June Bugs, who lay their eggs in the ground. White grubs eat plant roots. However, my experience has been that they don’t do much harm in the vegetable or flower garden. In lawns, on the other hand, white grubs can cause ugly dead patches, but this is seldom a problem if the soil is permitted to go somewhat dry between waterings. Nonetheless, when digging up the ground ahead of planting season, I do the same as you do. I pick up the grubs and throw them into a bucket. I have tried putting them in a dish for the birds without much success. Starlings will sometimes land on lawns and do the grub control for you, but I guess they only like catching their own.
Anywhere in the garden—lawn, vegetable garden or flowerbed— there are a couple of organic solutions to the white grub problem. One is to purchase Gardens Alive “Grub Away” nematodes: http://www.gardensalive.com/product.asp?pn=5000. These are the correct species to kill white grubs. Gurneys also carries them. My experience is that these nematodes really work but only in moist soil that stays moist and does not dry out completely between irrigations. Since those requirements don’t describe the majority of situations in my garden, they worked only partially for me. Nonetheless, I think that it would be worth your while to try using these nematodes and perhaps they will work for you. I have reason to suppose that they might have proliferated in my garden and still be present here even many years after first introducing them to my garden soil. If you purchase these beneficial nematodes be sure to request the type for mild climates.
Another way to control white grubs is to purchase MIlky Spore Disease. I did that also. Gardens Alive also carries this product and you can purchase it elsewhere also. Milky Spore Disease does not work as well out here in the west as it does in the northern and eastern portions of the United States, since we do not have the same grubs here. Nonetheless, it is likely to be of partial help.
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