By: Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer
Grubsare nasty-looking pests. The last thing you want to see is grubs in yourcontainer plants. Grubs in potted plants are actually the larvae of varioustypes of beetles. Before they hatch in late summer, grubs in garden pots feedon plant matter, including the roots and stems of your beloved plants.Controlling grubs isn’t difficult, but it does take a bit of effort on yourpart. Keep reading for tips on how to get rid of grubs in flowerpots.
The most effective way to eliminate grubs in potted plantsis getting rid of the infested soil. This won’t hurt the plant if you workcarefully; in fact, your plant may benefit from repotting,especially if the roots are crowded in the pot. Here’s how to eliminate grubsin container plants:
Put on a pair of gloves, then spread a sheet of plastic ornewspaper over your work area and remove the plant carefully from the pot. Ifthe plant is rootbound, thump the pot gently with the heel of your hand. If thepot is breakable, loosen the plant by sliding a trowel or table knife aroundthe inside of the pot.
Once the plant is safely out of the pot, brush the pottingmix off the roots. Be sure any grub-infested potting mix is removed. Gather upthe newspaper or plastic and dispose of it securely in a sealed container.Never place grub-infested potting mix where the pests can get into your garden.
Scrub the pot thoroughly using a solution of nine partswater to one-part household bleach. The bleach will sterilize the container andkill any eggs that haven’t yet hatched. Rinse the pot thoroughly to remove alltraces of bleach, then allow it to air dry.
Repot the plant in a container filled with fresh,good-quality pottingmix. Place the plant in a shady, protected spot for a few days beforemoving it back to its permanent location.
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One of the most important things to note is the fact that white grubs do not refer to a single class. Rather, it is a collective term that refers to the larval stage of different kinds of insects. Although there are different species, most of them share the same characteristics as a larva. The color is usually dirty white or gray. They have a brown head and the length usually has an average of 3/8 to 2 inches. When they are resting, they form a C shape. June beetle bugs, on the other hand, crawls on its back. Most of them also have six strong legs, except in the case of June beetle bugs.
Close up of White Grubs Burrowing into the Soil
First of all, what are “grubs”? It’s a pretty general term and can refer to a number of different kinds of thick, worm-like beetle larvae that live in your garden soil.
They exist as dormant eggs through the cold winter months, and then hatch in the spring to burrow around and eat the roots of your plants.
Eventually, they will change into their adult forms and lay more eggs that hatch into next season’s grubs, starting the cycle all over again.
Some species can take more than 1 year to complete the cycle, but the idea is the same.
So how do you know you have grubs? Your first signs are likely going to be problems with your grass and other plants. Odd patches of grass will start to die off and turn brown, without any apparent cause. If you do have a grub problem, the damaged grass should pull up easily since the grubs have been eating away the roots underneath.
Once you can see the dirt, you should have a clear view of any grubs. They don’t burrow too deeply Depending on the specific species (we’ll get to that in a moment), they’ll be an inch or so in length, cream-colored with a dark brown head, and usually curl up in a “C” shape when the sod is pulled off.
larvae of the European Chafer beetle. By David Cappaert, Michigan State University, Bugwood.org [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons Another tip-off that you have a grub problem is the increased activity around your yard from raccoons, skunks or birds. These animals love to eat grubs, and will come in droves for the easy snacks. So finding patches of sod all torn up and dug through can mean you have grubs, even if they’re not the ones who directly did the damage.
For more specific species identification, it gets a little tougher. We’ll discuss the different kinds of grubs in the next section.
In North America, you’ll likely be finding grubs from a few different families of beetle. June beetles (also called June bugs or even May beetles) are the most widespread, but you may also have Oriental beetles or European chafers. They all look very similar when in the grub stage and most home gardeners aren’t going to be able to tell one from the other without a little research and possibly an insect identification guide.
While technically there are some species of grubs that are harmless to your grass, most will be a problem. If you see grubs in the dirt without any actual damage going on, you might want to wait and see what develops before you reach for the insecticide.
In pots, a heavy infestation of curl grubs can eat the entire root system of a plant. It is during warmer weather that new eggs hatch and older larvae move closer to the soil surface feeding more heavily on plant roots. The hotter weather adds to the burden of plants trying to survive with a diminishing root ball.
Secondly, how do I get rid of worms in my potted plants? Harmful pests such as cutworms and leafminer larvae should be submerged in warm, soapy water to kill them so they don't harm other plants. There are a range of insecticidal soaps that are effective at killing pests. Use a ready-to-use insecticidal soap and spray the worms, repeating the application as needed.
Beside above, what are the little white grubs in my plant pots?
White grubs are the slug-like larval stage of many insects. They root around just below the surface, eating the roots of grass and other plants as they grow. The most commonly encountered white grubs are the larvae of June bugs, European Chafers, Masked Chafers, Billbugs, Oriental Beetles and Japanese Beetles.
How do you get rid of white grubs in soil?
Spray on your lawn or vegetable garden. Using milky spore on your lawn is another natural way to kill grub worms. Just spread on your lawn and milky spore can kill grub worms for up to 10 years. To offset the damage caused by the grub worms, keep your vegetable garden or lawn watered.