Chafer Grubs: The Hidden Enemy Lurking in Your Lawn

Without the right tools, knowledge and experience it is often a struggle to keep your lawn looking healthy but to really assess a lawn’s health you must look underneath the sward where all the action happens. This is where, if you are unlucky enough to be host to them, Chafer grubs reside. In this article, we’ll answer some common questions about Chafer grubs and provide some tips for managing them.

What are chafer grubs?

Chafer grubs are the larvae of chafer beetles that belong to the beetle family Scarabaeidae. They are typically white or cream-coloured, with a distinct C-shaped body and six legs. Chafer grubs are commonly found in lawns and gardens, where they feed on the roots of grass. There are 4 common varieties but it is difficult to tell the difference between them.

Can chafer grubs damage lawns?

Chafer grubs are notorious for their ability to cause extensive damage to lawns. These pests feed on grassroots, which can lead to bare patches and thinning turf. The damage caused by chafer grubs is most evident between autumn and spring when the grubs are reaching maturity. Signs of chafer grub damage include yellowing, wilting, and brown patches of grass.

The most dramatic damage though, can be caused by predators of the chafer grub; foxes, badgers and birds. These predators scratch at the lawn or dig in the lawn, and there is nothing anchoring the grass to the soil. This can decimate a lawn overnight.

How do chafer grubs spread?

Chafer grubs are commonly found in North America, Europe, and Asia. These pests lay their eggs in the soil during the summer months. The eggs hatch into larvae, which begin to feed on grass roots immediately. The larvae continue to feed and grow over the autumn and winter months. In the spring, the larvae pupate and emerge as adult chafer beetles.

Chafer grubs spread easily, are naturally occurring and become a problem when there is an infestation.

How to control chafer grubs in lawns?

If you have identified chafer grubs in your lawn, it’s essential to act quickly to prevent further damage. The following are effective methods to control them:

  1. Nematodes – Beneficial nematodes can be used to control chafer grubs naturally. These microscopic worms invade and kill chafer grubs by releasing bacteria into their bodies. Place netting over the affected area to prevent secondary damage from predators.
  2. Lawn care – A healthy well maintained lawn is better able to survive an attack of chafer grubs but there is no rhyme or reason why a lawn becomes infested. It is usual to find chafer grubs in lawns but it is only a problem when their numbers become great enough to infest it.


Chafer grubs can be a frustrating and damaging lawn problem, but with the right approach, they can be managed. By understanding the life cycle of these beetle larvae and using a combination of biological and cultural control methods, you can help to keep your lawn healthy and beautiful. Recently a chemical called Acelepryn has been approved for use in some situations to control chafer grubs. Ask a professional with PA1 and PA6 licences to see if they can help.

If you are unsure about how to manage Chafer grubs in your lawn, it’s always a good idea to consult with a professional lawn care provider.

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