PERU Recent passersby at the Mother Cabrini Shrine and St. Patricks Oratory on the Patent Rd. undoubtedly thought the lawn was under repair. Animals (probably skunks) have uprooted almost the entire front lawn in a search for grubs. Rev. Alan Shnob said, Weve treated the soil trying to prevent damage from spreading to the cemetery. Pat McCumber, Horticultural Program Assistant at Cornells Cooperative Extension Office in Plattsburgh, said the animals were probably attracted by the presence of European chafer beetle larvae/grubs. This year they are the most common grubs being found in this area. The fat white grubs are usually curled into a C shape and they eat the roots of grass plants causing dead patches in lawns. Skunks and other animals also love to feast on them. Gary Foster of the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation in Ray Brook said his office has had eight or nine recent reports of lawns being damaged by skunks.He said raccoons and bears also look for grubs under lawn sod.
The Cooperative Extension office recommends that in late August or early September homeowners pull back a 12-inch square of their sod in several locations and look for young grubs. A healthy lawn can withstand a fairly large grub infestation without treatment. Treatment is recommended when anyone finds more than 4-6 European chafer grubs or 8-10 Japanese beetle grubs per square foot.
There are several products available to treat grubs. Trichlorfon is sold under the brand names of Dylox and Bayer Advanced 24-Hour Grub Control. There is also a new product called imidacloprid that is less toxic to mammals. It is sold under the brand name Grub-EX, Merit or Bayer Advanced Season-long Grub Control. It needs 2-3 weeks to become effective, so it needs to be applied in June or July. This is a problem since this is prior to the time when grubs normally appear. Cooperative Extension recommends that homeowners consider using imidacloprid as a preventative in lawns where grubs appear every year. Otherwise, its better to wait until you know where and how bad the grub problem is before making a decision to treat. Other less toxic treatments are also available, but they all have several limitations.
For literature or advice on grub control anyone can call Cornell Cooperative Extensions Plattsburgh office at 561-7450 or in Westport at 962-4810.