Chafer Grubs (Chafer Beetle Larvae) are the larvae of the common Chafer Beetle (May Bug) which are often seen flying around on warm, early summer evenings. Chafer Grubs are most commonly white in colour, comma shaped with brown heads. They are distinctive and fleshy looking in appearance, with 3 pairs of legs protruding from the front segment of their undercarriage. These grubs can live in your lawn for up to 3 years before emerging as adult beetles.
Areas of dead or dying grass is a tell tale sign of the presence of Chafer Grubs (this can be mistaken and confused for damage caused by Leather Jackets).
These pests are often found, firstly, in stressed areas, such as lawn edges, shaded or wet areas. Chafer Grubs do not usually distribute themselves evenly, so it is common to find many discoloured spots or areas of stunted or distorted growth. These insects are generally found to be most active on the outer edge of damaged areas, as they usually proceed outward from a central point.
Chafer larvae feed on the roots of the grass in your lawn during the spring and summer months causing yellow/brown patches, and, as the grass roots are eaten off below the surface level, it is often the case that a complete “carpet” of turf can be lifted and removed still intact. Frenzied pecking/feeding activity of large birds like crows, rooks and magpies is a clear sign of insect activity under the surface of your lawn. The adult beetles and larvae have many natural predators: birds, moles, badgers and even foxes which, can all cause severe damage to your lawn when foraging for these grubs and beetles as a source of food.
There is little or no benefit in renovating or restoring a damaged lawn until the larvae problem has been addressed. Chafer Grubs can live in your soil for up to three (3) years and there is often more than one generation of larvae in the soil at any one time.