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Backyard battle rages

Posted: 5am 12 Feb 2022

LAWN grubs are decimating lawns across the region in large numbers enjoying summer heat, high rainfall and humidity.

The conditions are ideal for pupa, that have been patiently waiting in the soil below the grass, to hatch.

Coochie HydroGreen North Lakes area manager Paul Martin said it was a perfect storm.

“They’re everywhere. We’ve been in full swing treating them since October,” Mr Martin said.

“There’s a lot of lawns out there that are damaged.”

He said the grubs, with ‘champagne taste’ went in search of healthy lawns to devour.

One North Lakes couple whose families and friends had pitched in money for them to lay a new lawn came back from their honeymoon to find it severely damaged.

He said he would receive 10 calls a month from clients who had spent thousands laying new lawns which already had grubs in them.

Many people buy retail products to treat their lawns, but the grubs return because no preventative treatment has been applied.

“It’s all about prevention and maintenance, if you don’t do your homework, they’ll be back,” Mr Martin said.

“Top of the tree for lawn grubs is a healthy, well-fed lawn,” he said.

So, what are the signs to look for, so your backyard does not become a lawn grub buffet?

“Your first sign is your lawn will look brown and you’ll think it’s dry. A lot of people confuse irrigation with lawn grubs. It’s a shift in the way the lawn looks,” Coochie HydroGreen franchise owner Ian McLeod said.

You will also notice moths and small grey wasps flying around. Then clusters of eggs will form on gutters and soffits, which resemble small balls of cotton wool.

Each cluster can have 400-500 eggs in it.

“They come down on little spider silks, like a parachute or bungy cord, as tiny little grubs – they call them instars – and they’re no bigger than a pinhead,” Mr McLeod said.

“He hits the ground and starts eating. He eats in the lawn for around two weeks until he gets to the size of your finger. Then he will dig down and start to metamorphosize into a pupa.

“The pupa will stay in the soil and then emerge as a moth. They can do up to six generations in one year. That’s just one moth, one family.”

Mr McLeod said a lawn could be ‘back to bone’ within 3-4 days.

“They eat the leaf, not the whole plant - they don’t attack the roots. It’s like using thinning scissors through your hair. They’re thinning it out by eating the leaf. Then, the roots and soil are exposed,” he says.

“It doesn’t kill it, but what happens is all the weeds come in and the lawn gets dried out and bakes the soil. Then your soil become hydrophobic. It starts to repel water like greaseproof paper.”

The best way to deal with lawn grubs is to apply preventative treatments every eight weeks.

“If you brush the eggs off a surface, they will die but that’s more for aesthetics because you won’t actually stop them. You can clean them one day and they’re back the next,” Mr McLeod said.

“Treatment won’t stop them from laying the eggs, but if they hatch and hit that lawn they will die within seconds.”

Coochie HyrdoGreen offers pet, child, bird and environmentally-friendly treatments that do the job and come with a warranty.

To find out more, visit coochie.com.au or phone Mr Martin on 0400 983 259.

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