How to get rid of larvae of the Scarabaeoidea beetle

Scarabaeoidea beetle

Really annoying pests include various larvae of the Scarabaeoidea family. If you see these creatures in your garden, you may have a big problem, because it is very difficult to get rid of them. This little critter can be responsible for sick looking lawn or even for dying plants. These larvae are also called grubs – mainly the larvae of the Scarabaeoidea superfamily. They stay in the larva stage for up to four years and they are insatiable during this time.

What does the larva look like?

These larvae are typical for tree pairs of legs. The body shape differs from regular caterpillars or other larvae, it is curved and it looks like the letter “L”. Colour can be white to light brown, the head is brown and the belly is black. Body length is three to six centimetres. Larvae hibernate at a depth of up to one meter underground – and that is the problem because you cannot get rid of them easily. In the spring, usually from April to May, they come to the surface and start feeding on leaves, lawns, trees, bushes and other plants. They can easily destroy a large part of your crops. The female lays 10 to 30 eggs at different places and in six weeks they hatch and develop into larvae.

Scarabaeoidea beetle

Photo: Pixabay

Larval period

Larvae are well equipped to live underground. They cannot move or crawl on the ground, and all they can do is to curl and roll as their legs are weak. Nevertheless, they can still consume a plenty of roots. They are most voracious in June and July – after the third year of life because this is the time before pupation. In August they hatch and the pupas develop into adult beetles. These creatures can be the reason why your lawn turns into an unsightly yellow mess.

How can you tell that your garden has been infested with larvae?

Yellowing lawn may not be the only sign. Signs may include trees with dying branches, dying seedlings and tiny holes in root vegetables. All these signs may occur despite the fact that you are fertilizing and watering your plants according to instructions, but they still wilt and die. The reason is disturbed or destroyed root system.

How can you get rid of adult beetles?

Many of us usually attribute these signs to other causes rather than to the Scarabaeoidea beetle and this will give these creatures time to feast. If you fail to detect larvae in time, your plants may suffer irreversible damage. The first action you should take is to spread a paper or canvas on the ground and shake the larvae off your plants, preferably early in the morning because at this time the larvae are still numb after the night. If you are a nature lover you may offer the collected larvae to birds, fish or chickens (if you have them) and they will love you. But if you have too many of them, you probably need to use chemical spray.

Fighting larvae

Getting rid of larvae is very difficult. They live deep underground. You may dig and turn the soil during sunny and dry days – the spores brought to the surface will dry and birds will eat them. You may also use a lawn scarifier to disturb the topsoil.


As usual prevention is the best approach. If you are starting a new lawn, you should definitely choose seeds that have been treated. Regular fertilizing and watering is important, as well as regular mowing. Larvae do not like onions or mustard. A green fertilizer made of buckwheat also works well.


Preview photo: Pixabay

Radek Štěpán

Gardening is my hobby, I have a lot of experience and I am happy to share it.


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