Authors as Published

Alexandra Spring and Eric Day, Department of Entomology, Virginia Tech

Figure 1 White Grubs
Depicted are 3 species, among the pest complex called "white grubs." The photo is useful as a comparison for size and appearance of these. The species L to R are: Japanese beetle, Popillia japonica, European chafer, Amphimallon majalis, and june bug, Phyllophaga sp. David Cappaert, Michigan State University,


Several species, but the most common white grub is larva of the Japanese beetle. Other white grubs can be May beetles, June beetle, chafers, and other scarab beetles. White grubs are white or light yellow, hard brown heads, curved; 1/2 inch to 1 1/2 inches long when fully grown. White grubs live in soil. They require 3 years to mature.

Common Host Plant(s)

Potato and peanut.


Larvae feed on roots and underground parts of potato and many other plants. Adults feed on tree foliage.


Throughout United States.

Cultural Control

Turn over the soil in late summer or early fall. This will kill many grubs and expose others to predators.

Organic/Biological Control

Birds, hogs, and skunks are natural predators of the grubs. Parasitic wasps may also provide some control.

Chemical Control

Apply a planting time soil insecticide, follow all label precautions and directions.

Virginia Cooperative Extension materials are available for public use, reprint, or citation without further permission, provided the use includes credit to the author and to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.

Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.

Publication Date

April 25, 2011