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Archive for June 22nd, 2010

While I was digging up the sod and getting to know the rose chafers, I also found white grubs. Lots of them, just under the roots of the sod. I don’t like to be critical, but they really are rather unattractive, these future beetles. Around this part of the world, the grubs are generally the larvae of one of three common scarab beetles: June Bugs (Phyllophaga spp), Japanese Beetles (Popillia japonica) or European Chafers (Rhizotrogus majalis). June beetles are native to North America. However, we have ourselves to blame for the Japanese beetles and European Chafers. The Japanese Beetles were introduced to New Jersey in 1916 on imported nursery stock, while the European Chafers were probably accidentally introduced sometime in the 1930s. They were first discovered in Newark, New York in 1940. You can differentiate the species of larvae by a close examination of the pattern of spines on the raster, the greyish area at the rear of the larva. I wasn’t sufficiently interested to study the larvae in such depth.

japanesebeetles

Japanese Beetles on rose leaves

The larvae feed on the roots of grass, and in doing so, can damage the lawn as the grass is weakened and dies, thus deeply disturbing the emotional well-being of a certain breed of suburbanite that thrives on a perfect green vista in their front yard. In Ontario, there are limited options for waging war on the larvae, as cosmetic pesticides are banned. Most garden gurus suggest maintaining a strong, healthy lawn that can withstand some root damage is the best defense, but a biological control, the introduction of nematodes, is also suggested. A secondary source of lawn damage results from skunks or raccoons digging up the lawn to snack on the apparently quite tasty grubs.

In a recent Garden Rant comment section, a Floridian suggested that a pesticide ban in Ontario is no big deal because pests like cockroaches, fire ants, mosquitoes, silverfish, killer bees, weeds, wasps, rats, termites, mice, beetles, yellow jackets, flies etc. can’t tolerate the cold and do not exist there. LOL! Personally, I can’t imagine spraying poisons in my yard or garden for anything as trivial as a green lawn anyway. Indeed, I can’t imagine wasting the space of a suburban yard on a lawn in the first place. Rip up that grass! There are better things to grow!

Skunk/ Raccoon damage

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