One of the most insidious garden pests lurks out of sight in your soil. The larvae of several species of beetles are voracious feeders on the roots of an incredibly wide range of plants from annuals and lawns to trees and shrubs.
Curl grubs look like witchetty grubs with a C-shaped white body and orange head and one of the most common types belongs to the African black beetle, a familiar sight in many Australian gardens with its small, shiny black metallic appearance.
Control of curl grubs can be achieved through chemicals such as chlorpyrifos, which is sold in various products such as ‘Lawn Grub Killer’, but this is a fairly toxic method. Fortunately there are also non-toxic control methods that can relieve the pressure, which are much more desirable when you have the family and pets around your lawn.
One alternative is the use of a beneficial nematode, a microscopic worm-like creature that kills the grubs. It can be found at the website www.ecogrow.com.au and is a great idea if pets or children use the areas of the garden that need to be treated. They can be applied very easily by watering can.
Another way to deal with curl grub is to water a simple soapy solution onto your lawn with a watering can. They dislike this and will head to the soil surface where they can be picked off by any resident birds such as magpies and currawongs, or chickens if you keep them. Soap solution is made by grating soap into a bucket of water, leave until it softens and swish it around to dissolve it. Water it on with a watering can.
A Neem oil solution is also a less toxic method to control curl grub.