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Nailing White Grubs in Chicago Lawns

by Gabby Hyman, All About Lawns Columnist

Now it's winter in Chicago. Snow is falling and blanketing your lawn. Come spring, surprise: the dirt just below the roots of your slumbering lawn has provided a comfy winter home for white grubs -- one of the most damaging pests known to Chicagoland grasses. The white grub has a three-year lifecycle so, come spring, you'll have a job on your hands.

Typically, the tan chafer beetle loves to lay its eggs in the middle of summer. You may not see much of the disastrous effects in the lawn until late summer or early fall, and sometimes you really won't spot damaged grass until after snowmelt and early spring greening. Grubs delight in gnawing on roots of local lawns, and these crescent-shaped pests may show themselves near the surface of the lawn in early spring.
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Treating Chicago-area Lawn Grubs

Many people are trying Heterorhabditis bacteriophora. These so-called live "beneficial" nematodes are available from lawn-care stores and can wallop the vermin if you apply a mixture with water in the warm conditions of early May while grubs are in their larval stage. People who use insecticide products like Grub-X report mixed results, but one of these lawn solutions should work for you.

No matter what you use for the grubs, be sure to water it in. In June, the beetles are active and you'll see them flitting about. This might be a great time to hit the lawn again with nematodes or a diazinon, trichlorfon, or halofenozide-based insecticide. Again, be sure to thoroughly water down the application.

If you don't know what grub damage looks like, slice open a section of your browning lawn and lift to examine the root structure. If white grubs are feasting away on the roots, you've got 'em!

About the Author
Gabby Hyman has created online strategies and written content for Fortune 500 companies including eToys, GoTo.com, Siebel Systems, Microsoft Encarta, Avaya, and Nissan UK.

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