Did you have the experience of being out in the garden and discovered an enormous white C-shaped grub that has a distinctive brown head and six legs arranged close to the head?
If you’re a victim, you’ve probably been in contact with the larva of the scarab beetle (family: Scarabaeidae) often referred to as a “curl grub”.
Many gardeners are worried that these massive larvae could harm plants.
What exactly do you think of curl grubs? Should you be worried when you find them in your yard?
What is curl grubs?
Curl grubs change to scarab beetles.
There are over thirty thousand species of scarab flies all over the world. Australia has more than 2,300 species of this species, including the iridescent christmas beetles (Anoplognathus) the, stunningly rhinoceros-horned beetles (Dynastinae), and the beautiful flower Chafers (Cetoniinae).
While adults may be the most visible age, the scarabs live the majority of their lives as larvae, residing underground or in decaying wood.
Curl grubs can be a fantastic food source for birds that are hungry. Shutterstock
The larvae of Scarab may help the ecosystem
The soil-dwelling larvae of scarabs can help aerate soils and to disperse seeds.
The species that consume decaying material help to recycle nutrients and maintain soil health.
Most larvae of the scarab are huge and packed with proteins and fats. They are a great source of food for hungry birds.
Apart from being essential for ecosystems, they also play an important role in festivals of culture.
For instance, the ancient Egyptians were known to worship the sun with the representation of the dung beetle that rolled a ball.
In Australia, colorful Christmas beetles have traditionally signalled the start of the Christmas season.
The numbers of Christmas beetles have diminished over the last couple of years, possibly due to the loss of habitat.
Are the curls grubs in my garden damaging my plants?
The majority of scarab larvae consume grass roots, and can cause damage to plants if there’s large number of them.
In Australia In Australia, the Argentine lawn scarab and the African black beetle are both invasive pests which cause significant destruction to lawns and pastures.
Native scarabs can be a nuisance in the right conditions.
For instance the time that Europeans began to plant sugar cane (a kind of grass) and then converting native grasslands into pastures, numerous native Australian scarabs discovered an abundance of food source and were then declared insects.
We know very little about the diet habits of the many native scarab larvae, which includes those found in gardens.
Many common garden species, such as the beautifully designed fiddler beetle ( Eupoecila australasiae), are able to be a source of decaying wood and aren’t likely to cause harm to garden plants.
The species that eat roots will not be in the normal environment.
Plants are quite resilient and many will be able to endure losing a little amount of their roots in the case of beetle larvae. Even when they cause damage to plants, grubs with curls could help keep soil healthy through the nutrients and aeration.
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Most plants can handle losing a small number of their roots to beetle larvae. Shutterstock
What can I do to determine whether I have good or bad beetle larvae in my yard?
However, identifying scarab’s larvae is a challenge. A lot of the characteristics we use to differentiate groups apart are hard to discern without magnifying. Although there are identification guides for the larvae of scarabs discovered in the pastures, however, there are no identification guides for scarabs that are found in home gardens.
As identification may not be feasible, the most reliable guide to determine if scarab larvae pose a threat within your yard is to check the condition that your plant. Roots damaged by damage can become yellow or wilt.