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Pests/Grub Worms

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QUESTION: Hi Jack,

I live in Hawaii on Oahu.  Today, I was transplanting my rose bush from its container when I noticed a grub worm in the soil.  I didn't know what kind of worm it was at first so I tossed it aside.  However, when I was sifting through the soil, I noticed there were 4 or 5 more of the same worms and I only figured out their identities when I checked online.  How can I control these pests?  I'd like to not use any pesticides so are there alternatives I can use?

ANSWER: Sean,

Can you post a picture? There are lots of different insects that people call "grubs". If these are "white grubs" (see http://www.livingwithbugs.com/white_grub.html) they are larvae of certain beetles but there are also moth larvae that some people call "grubs". The control options would be different for these two pests.

Jack DeAngelis




---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi Jack,

Yep, those white grubs are the ones.

Answer
I'm not positive about the Hawaiian fauna but rose chafer and/or Japanese beetle are two possibilities (see http://www.livingwithbugs.com/japanese_beetle.html). The adult beetles emerge in early summer and these can be hand-picked or treated with spinosad (see http://www.livingwithbugs.com/spinosad.html). Larvae in the soil are more difficult but nematodes or milky spore disease can be effective - see the page cited above about Japanese beetles. You might also google "white grubs hawaii".

Jack DeAngelis

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Jack DeAngelis

Expertise

I can answer questions in any area of entomology (study of insects, spiders, mites, ticks, and other terrestrial arthropods). Contact me about home and garden insects such as aphids and spider mites, insects that bite and sting such as ticks and wasps, and insects that damage homes such as carpenter ants and termites.

Experience

20 years as university extension entomologist, now retired; currently publish a website about home and garden insects.

Organizations
see www.livingwithbugs.com/resume.html

Publications
see www.livingwithbugs.com/resume.html Fine Gardening magazine

Education/Credentials
Ph.D. in Entomology (the study of insects)

Awards and Honors
see www.livingwithbugs.com/resume.html

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