We received a picture the other day from a reader requesting an identification. The image depicts white (or more like whitish) worm-like creatures that are quite plump, and the reader thought he might have found worms or caterpillars. In fact, we are quite confident the reader found grub worms, also called “lawn grubs” or simply “grubs.” Even though one of their common names is “grub worms,” they are not actually worms, but the larvae form of beetles – generally scarab beetles, but “grub” is a fairly loose term. Thus, they are not worms or caterpillars, but insect larva. Below we explain why we think our reader found grub worms.
First, let’s take a look at the picture our reader submitted:
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It’s a little small, but the creatures are easy enough to see, especially the one in the middle, near the edge of the shovel.
We think these are grub worms primarily because they look like grub worms. We recently wrote about these fat, white larvae with brown heads in the lawn, and not long before that we wrote about grub worms in mulch piles on the lawn. Both of these articles have pictures, and our reader will notice, if he cares to look at them, that the creatures featured in these articles look very much like the creature pictured above. We are also confident our reader found grub worms because of the circumstances in which he found them. These circumstances aren’t described, but the two grubs are clearly on a shovel in what looks like freshly dug dirt. Since grub worms live underground, people tend to find them when they are digging in their yards for gardening or other landscaping purposes, and this appears to be what the reader is doing.
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Although we are confident that our reader found grub worms, we will conclude by noting that there are tens of thousands of different species, and this is the case even if you limit your definition of grub to “the larval form of scarab beetles” (as opposed to the larval form of any beetle). Of course, our reader might have no interest in knowing the precise species he found – the “grub worm” identification is enough for most – but we just want to indicate the diversity of species out there. If our reader cares to research the matter further, he might look into some of the common scarab beetle that are found in lawns, like June beetles and Japanese beetles, and he might also see if there are species that are especially prevalent in whatever part of the world he lives.