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Lawn Damage Due to Grubs & Rodents

By Tanya Khan ; Updated September 21, 2017
Lawn grubs severely damage turf.
grub image by Joanna Redesiuk from Fotolia.com

Lawn grubs are larval stages of beetles such as oriental beetle, European chafer and Japanese beetle. These destructive pests live under lawn thatch and chew on grass roots, destroying lawns completely. They also attract predators such as rodents that dig the grass in their pursuit. Control grub and rodent problems to prevent further damage to your lawn and restore it back to health immediately.


Grubs have ¾- to 1 ½-inch plump, C-shaped bodies that are grey, brown or white. According to American-Lawns.com, white grubs are the most damaging lawn pests in the U.S. The United States Department of Agriculture states that lawn damage due to white grubs or Japanese beetle grubs cause monetary losses worth millions of dollars annually. Female beetles are attracted to moist, warm soils that are easy to dig into when laying eggs. They lay 45 to 60 eggs that remain sheltered through the winter before hatching into grubs in early spring.


Rodents are mammals with grey to dark brown hairy bodies, small eyes, a stocky build and a tail. Common rodents include squirrels, gophers, rats, voles and mice.Voles, also called field mice have 3- to 5 ½-inch long bodies, small eyes and a short tail. They severely damage lawns, gardens and plants.

Lawn Damage

Depending on the species, grubs remain in the soil for several months and feed on the roots of grass, causing brown, burn or dead spots. Although the destruction begins in mid to late summer, symptoms of damage are not visible until early fall. Grubs remain close to the soil surface, just under grass roots and attract rodents.

Rodents dig the soil surface in search of grubs that they eat. Some rodents also form tunnels that lead to underground runways and nesting areas, causing severe damage. Although traps effectively control current rodent problems, the best method of control is to remove their food source.


Cut a 1-foot square sample of your lawn in midsummer and count the number of grubs on the exposed soil surface below. The presence of 10 or more grubs calls for immediate control. Spread milky spore powder over the grass--grubs die immediately. Another method of controlling grubs is to release microscopic parasitic nematodes such as Heterorhabditis bacteriophora that kill grubs in up to two days. Control rodents with hot sauce repellents, toxic bait and commercially available traps.


As with most pest situations, a combination of control methods is the most effective control. Although controlling grubs will reduce rodent problem, set traps if the population is large, especially if females gave birth in underground nests.


About the Author


Tanya Khan is a freelance author and consultant, having written numerous articles for various online and print sources. She has a Master of Business Administration in marketing but her passion lies in writing.