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Grub Worm Control in Vegetable Gardens

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Grub Worm Control in Vegetable Gardens

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Overview

When it is time to cultivate a vegetable garden, gardeners are often ready to combat the effects of garden pests before they have a chance to damage any crops. Grub worms are common garden nuisances that can quickly compromise a flourishing garden if left in the soil. Treat a grub worm infestation early on to protect your vegetables during the growing season.

Identification

Also known as white grubs, these crawly creatures are larvae from several types of beetles that belong to the Coleoptera order that lay their eggs in the soil. Grubs are easy to identify--they are small, white worms that roll up their bodies into a C-form and are no more than 2 inches long.

Considerations

Grubs are commonly found in areas that were previously covered with grass, according to Alabama A&M and Auburn Universities. They recommend thoroughly tilling the soil and handpicking the grubs out of the soil. Check the garden soil during the period from late spring through the early summer for grubs since that is the mating season of the beetles. Removing the grubs from the soil will bring their reproductive life cycle to a halt.

Grub Damage in the Garden

Beetle larvae bore into the soil to feed on the root systems of many types of plants, including vegetables in a garden. Since vegetables and other plants obtain nutrients and water from the soil through their roots, root damage from grubs will cut off the vegetables from these sources, causing them to eventually die.

Natural Management

Concerns for the environment and for the health and wellness of their families, friends and pets compel many people to find natural alternative treatments to what is commercially available. These include adequate watering to keep the nutrients flowing into the plant even when the roots are damaged, aerating the soil to make the soil environment intolerable to grubs and introducing beneficial nematodes that destroy grubs after they eat them.

Chemical Management

Chemical management may be necessary when dealing with a broad infestation of grubs. Imialcloprid and halofenozide are two insecticides for grubs, according to Texas A&M University. It is best to apply these treatments as a preventive measure and before existing grubs grow more than 1/2-inch long. The concern with chemical management of grubs is in how these chemicals affect the quality and safety of the vegetables. This concern may warrant selecting pesticides safe for vegetable gardens and treating the grub problem one year and then starting the garden the following year.

Keywords: grub control, grubs vegetable garden, grub management

About this Author

Naima Manal's articles on health, diet, nutrition, alternative medicine, education, parenting, crafts, travel, home and garden and home improvement have appeared on eHow, Garden Guides, Trails, ConnectED, Helium and others. Manal received her B.S. degree in biology/pre-medical studies from Molloy College in 1994 and has been a freelance writer, teacher and homeschooling mom since 1993.