Is this a white grub? What do I do? (pic)

guavalaneOctober 13, 2010

The information I read online is very confusing, so please help!

My raised bed is one year old and gave bumper crops of brassica in winter and tomatoes in summer. The tomatoes seemed to be done for the season so I pulled the plants out today. The first one I pulled was a San Maranzo which was very healthy and prolific at about 100 lbs of good paste maters. After pulling the plant I started to work some organic matter into the soil. To my surprise each shovel brings me 10 or more C-shaped white grubs, or something like it. They varied from 1/2' to 1 1/2" and crawl on the back. Are they grubs? Are they good guys or bad?

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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

Yes, they're grubs. But they don't damage live plants. Instead, degrade dead organic matter.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2010 at 12:27AM
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Hmmm, you're more knowledgeable on garden issues than me, Jean, but isn't the main issue not the grub, but what bug it hatches into? Although having beetle grubs in my yard does indirectly leads to a huge problem for me, skunks tearing up my beds in the dead of night to eat them. Beneficial nematodes are an organic way to control them, but I'm not conversant enough with them to know what might work best for you if you want to fight them, Guavalane.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2010 at 3:27PM
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Are you bothered with Japanese Beetle/Fruit Beetles? The grubs of those horrid fruit eating beetles look very much like the picture. It may be true that the grubs don't harm living plants, but the beetle does a great deal of damage.

Also, when there are a lot of these grubs in your soil, nocturnal varmits [skunks, possums, racoons]can do a great deal of damage to new plantings, as they dig for the grubs.

Since I have made it a practice to kill all such grubs found in my soil and compost pile, haven't been bothered by the fruit beetles. IMO, Whatever benefit they may provide in the compost pile is not a trade-off to the damage done by the mature beetle.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2010 at 3:28PM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

It was asked: "Are you bothered with Japanese Beetle/Fruit Beetles?"

No, not anywhere in CA.

The beetle the OP's grub will become is the green fruit beetle, sometimes called the fig beetle. It specializes in eating overripe fruits such as peaches & figs.

So, in any case, not to worry.

Jean, who previously gardened for 30-some years in LB, CA.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2010 at 10:38PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

I have THOUSANDS of them in my compost pile. Someone on gardenweb (forget who) calls them 'compost shrimp.' That's what my chickens think they are.

Two ways they damage your crops:
1)they are big and clumsy and they knock over small seedlings when they are vrooming around an inch below the soil; and
2) as already mentioned, raccoons and oppossums dig for them and uproot your seedlings. I prevent this by putting pigwire over my beds before I plant.

I like the grubs because they make compost out of grass in no time at all. And the fig beetles are beautiful. I have a collection of dead ones in a jar, next to my new muskrat skull.


    Bookmark   October 15, 2010 at 12:54AM
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'compost shrimp'
That right there is funny.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2010 at 8:54AM
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Thank you for all your help, but I'm still confused.

All summer long the leaves on my eggplants were verey much like "lace" and I saw little bugs jumping as fast as fleas, so I thought I had Japanese beetles.

Jean, are you saying we don't have it in California?

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 2:48AM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

Yes, that is what she is saying. Your grubs are Fig Beetle babies.

Japanese Beetles are Popillia japonica, and they have brown backs. Fig Beetles are Cotinis mutabilis, and they are larger and have bright metallic green backs. Japanese beetles eat foliage and roses, Fig beetles eat fruit. They prefer rotting fruit.

You do not have to do anything about them, but if you have stone fruit trees, you may lose some fruit next year to them. They don't make a dent in mine.

The little bugs jumping as fast as fleas on your eggplant leaves are an entirely different creature. It could be caterpillars, earwigs, slugs, snails, or some other bug eating your eggplant leaves. I spray with BT when I see leaf damage because mostly it is caterpillars here, and BT kills them and nothing else.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 1:25PM
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Propaganda Garden Design

The jumping bugs might be flea beetles.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2010 at 6:44AM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

Put it this way. They *are* flea beetles.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2010 at 1:30AM
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Maybe I should have mentioned that the grubs were found in my tomato bed. It's 4'X20' boarded with redwood, 12" high. In summer the tomato plants did great, no sign of problem. So I was really surprised to find soooo many grubs after the plants were dug up. The eggplants with "lace" leaves are nowhere near.
I applied the beneficial nematodes following the label. Three days later a nocturnal visitor came and dug up holes everywhere uprooting the newly planted onion plants. [sigh].

    Bookmark   October 23, 2010 at 2:02AM
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elc11(sunset z24 SD CA)

Here is some more info on the Fruit Beetle

We have them in San Diego although not in the usual numbers this cool summer. I have never had a problem with the adults eating anything that I'm growing. Sometimes skunks will mess up the planting beds looking for the grubs.

There are usually a lot of the grubs in my compost bins. When they mature I can hear them banging into the walls and when I open the lid they fly out in a spiral, its pretty funny to watch!

    Bookmark   October 31, 2010 at 2:42AM
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I'm having serious problems with dang varmints digging up my vegetable bed (almost nightly). I want to invest in beneficial nematodes. Is this the right time to apply them? Or should I wait? The grubs in the bed are currently pretty big and juicy. If I were a possum or skunk, I'd want to eat them, too. :)

    Bookmark   March 31, 2011 at 1:29PM
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