integrated pest management

White Grubs
Phyllophaga spp.

White grubs in the genus Phyllophaga are also known as "perennial" white grubs or "true" white grubs. Several common species occur in Illinois. Adults are the large May and June beetles that range in length from to 1 inch and vary in color from tan to dark brown.

White grub adult and larva

White grub adult and larva.
Adults of common species range from 1/2 to
1 inch (12 - 25 mm) in length;
C-shaped larva may exceed 1 inch in length.

Females deposit eggs in soil during late spring or early summer; they especially prefer grass sod near wooded areas for egg-laying. As a consequence, damage caused by larvae is greatest in crops grown on sites that were grass-covered the previous season. Newly-hatched larvae feed on crop roots throughout the summer, then burrow deep in the soil to overwinter. The following year they again migrate to the root zone to feed. These larger larvae cause much greater damage than they did the year before. After overwintering again well below the soil surface, white grubs pupate early in the following summer, and adults emerge from pupal cells in the spring three years after the cycle began.

Because very few strawberry plantings are now placed on ground that was used for sod, pasture, or grass set-aside the previous year, white grubs are not common in Illinois strawberries. For a list of insecticides that might be used for grub control in strawberries, see the up-to-date edition of the Illinois Commercial Small Fruit and Grape Spray Guide. Banding insecticides over the row reduces the amount and cost of insecticide treatment.