How to Stop Chafer Grub from Destroying Your Lawn

How to Stop Chafer Grub from Destroying Your Lawn


A lush green lawn has the ability to make any garden feel like an inviting and relaxing place to be.

Of course, every gardener aims to have the perfect lawn but, in reality, we all have to contend with nature.

You may find that your lawn is continuously dry and patchy and requires large amounts of water to keep it looking anything close to green.

Or your lawn may suffer from a lack of sunlight, making it difficult for your grass to grow.

Perhaps your children and/or pets are making it difficult for you to maintain a healthy lawn.

On the other hand, you might be unlucky enough to have an infestation of a lawn-destroying pest, such as chafer grubs.

We’ve looked at various ways in which you can prevent your lawn from being destroyed by the elements, in previous posts.

The focus of today’s article, however, is on how to ward off a determined pest – specifically the one known as chafer grub – from taking hold of your lawn and, literally, eating it alive.



What are Chafer Grubs?


chafer beetle

Chafer Beetle

Chafer grubs are the larvae of the chafer beetle.

These larvae live underground and several species of chafer grub that can be found in the UK have a particular fondness for munching their way through grass roots which, in turn, will destroy or damage a garden lawn.

Depending on weather conditions, adult beetles tend to emerge in springtime and lay their eggs in grassy areas, around May or June.

These eggs quickly hatch into larvae, which will then begin feeding on the roots of the grass until early autumn, when they will burrow deeper into the soil to see out the winter months.

Chafer grubs can remain as larvae for 3–4 years, going through various stages of development before completing their metamorphosis and becoming beetles.



How to Identify Chafer Grubs


chafer grub

The Chafer Grub (Image Courtesy of David Cappaert,

In the UK, there are six different types of chafer grub.

Identifying each species can be difficult as they all look very similar in appearance.

The best of way of telling each species apart is by looking at their size. Chafer grubs can be as big as 20mm which, surprisingly, is larger than the beetles they become.

Chafer grubs have white bodies curved in a C-shape, three pairs of legs and, typically, a brown or black head.

The two types of chafer grub most likely to cause damage to your lawn are known as the welsh chafer (nothing to do with Wales!) and the garden chafer. Both species measure somewhere between 10mm and 15mm in length.

The welsh chafer can be identified by its black head whereas the garden chafer typically has a head and thorax that is blue-green in colour.



How Do Chafer Grubs Destroy Lawns?


Chafer grubs can very quickly destroy your lawn and turn it into a yellow, patchy mess.

They do this by munching their way through the roots of your turf, killing off the grass as they go.

crow eating a grub

Chafer grubs also provide an excellent, tasty source of food for many types of bird, such as crows, magpies and starlings. This will further exacerbate the problem, as these birds can rip up chunks of your turf in search of these delicious critters.

Its not just birds that enjoy the taste of these pests, either – you could even find foxes digging up your grass in search of these tasty morsels.

Destroyed grass roots and turf ripped from the ground can quickly turn your lush green grass into complete chaos.



How to Treat Chafer Grub


A chafer grub infestation can destroy a lawn very quickly. Fortunately, however, there are several ways in which you can deal with this common pest. We’re going to look at three of the best:


1. Biological Control


The first method of dealing with the chafer grub is through biological control.

There are certain types of pathogenic nematodes, such as Heterorhabditis bacteriophora, which can be used to treat this pest.

They work by attacking the larvae with a bacterial disease, which results in the fatality of the grub.

Pathogenic nematodes are microscopic animals that are watered into your lawn when it is moist and the temperature of the soil ranges between 12–20 degrees Celsius or 55–68 degrees Fahrenheit.

This type of control method is only effective during the summer months, when the temperature of the soil allows the survival of the microscopic bacteria. The downside is that most infestations aren’t discovered until early autumn, when it is typically too late to use this form of treatment.


2. Maintain Your Lawn


maintain your lawn

Strangely, it’s thought that chafer grubs are more likely to be found in poorly maintained lawns.

Therefore, in order to minimise your lawn’s chances of being infested, it’s important to keep your lawn in tip-top condition.

This means regular mowing, feeding, watering and moss prevention action to ensure your lawn stays healthy and pest-free.


3. Install an Artificial Lawn


install artificial turf

If all else fails, you could consider artificial grass!

Installing an artificial lawn will mean that there are no grass roots for chafer grubs to devour, leaving your lawn lush and green all year round.

Recent development of manufacturing technologies has meant that artificial grass is now a realistic alternative to the real thing and it can be difficult to tell real and fake grass apart.

Having an artificial lawn doesn’t just mean that your lawn will be immune to pests – there’s a whole host of other benefits, too.

The maintenance required for artificial grass is minimal when compared to maintaining a real lawn, which is a huge advantage for homeowners short on time.

It’s also perfect for pets, as there will no longer be muddy paw prints trodden through the house and they cannot damage or stain the grass, either.

It’s safe for children, too, as it is completely free from harmful substances and there’s no need to apply any potentially harmful chemicals.

If chafer grub infestations are becoming all too common in your garden, then installing artificial grass may be a wise decision.





A chafer grub infestation can be devastating to your garden lawn.

Lush green grass can quickly become yellow and patchy, due to the larvae chewing their way through the roots of your turf.

There are ways in which it can be treated, but often it comes too late as the chances are you won’t be aware of an infestation until the damage has already occurred.

Installing artificial grass is a great way of preventing your lawn from becoming subject to infestation and damage from common garden pests.

If you are interested in having an artificial lawn installed, why not check out our range of products? You can even request your free samples and see for yourself just how realistic our artificial turf is.

For a free installation quotation, please contact your nearest NeoGrass Approved Installer.

We hope that you have found our article on dealing with chafer grubs useful. If you have any questions or you can offer any other advice that you think should have been included in our article, then please let us know by leaving a comment below. Thanks for reading!



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