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Area residents chafing at grub damage

May 7, 2013
By JOHN PEPIN - Journal Staff Writer ( , The Mining Journal

MUNISING - Michigan State University Extension officials are urging homeowners hoping to control European chafer grub damage to their lawns to inform themselves before taking action.

The larvae from European chafer beetles damage plants including turf grass, nursery stocks, clover, alfalfa and other plants by feeding on their roots. Fruits, vegetables and field crops are among the plants the can suffer damage.

European chafer beetles have been in North America since the first half of the last century, having first been found in New York. More recently, the insects have dispersed west into several states including Michigan.

Article Photos

European chafer grubs can cause damage to lawns and plants by eating the roots. (Michigan State University photo)

"In 2007, infestations of European chafer grubs were confirmed in the Alger Heights area in Munising Township. Since then, lawn and turf damage from grubs has spread and become common in the Munising area and around the Upper Peninsula," said Jim Isleib, with the Alger County MSU Extension Office in Munising.

Isleib said the grubs like drier places.

"Since most lawns in the central U.P. are on light-textured soils and are not watered regularly, they are more vulnerable," Isleib said. "A number of home lawns have been completely destroyed and many more are damaged."

In a briefing, the Indiana Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey Program said the larvae "typically feed from July through October and may remain high in the soil profile into winter. If conditions are favorable, European chafer larvae are able to feed under the cover of snow and are the first grubs to resume feeding in the spring, as early as March."

"Dead and dying spots in lawns where chafer flights have been observed the previous June should be suspect and this type of injury is usually visible by late summer," the briefing said. "Relatively low level larval infestations can cause extensive root loss in containerized nursery stock."

Isleib had a few suggestions to help homeowners make good decisions:

For more information, contac the Alger County MSU Extension office at 387-2530 or

John Pepin can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206.



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