Lawn Pests – Leatherjackets & Chafer Grubs
Leatherjackets are about 25mm (1″) long, greyish black, legless and with no distinct head. They are the larval stage of the crane fly (daddy long legs) which appear towards the end of August and lay eggs within days. These hatch within two weeks and start to feed.
Chafer grubs are creamy coloured, about 15mm (0.6”) in length with distinct legs (unlike vine weevils). Chafer beetles emerge from lawns and lay eggs, which hatch into grubs feeding. They burrow deeper for winter and lie dormant before surfacing in spring to emerge as beetles.
Both leatherjackets and chafer grubs attack grass roots resulting in slow growth and yellow patches. Grass is easily pulled up, with little or no root.
Wildlife, such as foxes and badgers, can create damage by digging to search for grubs, as do rooks, magpies, crows and woodpeckers – a good sign of an infestation. Dig up a piece of turf and inspect it for pests.