This is the second part in a multi-part series focusing on methods to deal with parasites. If you wish to read the article that deals with leatherjackets, click here.
As with the leatherjackets, the chafer grub is the larval form of an insect – in this case, the chafer beetle – which tends to leave much wreckage in its wake. They do this by the same mechanism as the leatherjackets, both eating the grass roots themselves and by attracting larger predators to tear apart the turf in search of food.
Golf courses have tried multiple organic methods of eradicating chafer grubs. Micro-clover leaves have become a possible anti-chafer tool, as their scent drives the grubs away. However, the different texture of clover leaves changes how golf balls interact with the golf course. This may therefore not be appropriate for all clubs.
The War on Chafer Grubs
Brough in Yorkshire have even tried to rip up the turf to let the grubs be eaten and then returfing. This can work – however, it is also by far the most costly method, both in terms of requiring expensive returfing and creating a long period where golfers cannot play. As we have discussed before, keeping golfers moving on and off the course as quickly as possible is the core principle of making sure that a club’s revenue covers its costs.
One club in Ireland, Lahinch Golf Club, even went for a solution worthy of Van Helsing. They sprayed garlic on the grass in order to try and drive off predators. However, solely trying to deter predators may have an adverse affect. If the grubs are not eaten, they will simply return the next year in much greater numbers. Since the grubs themselves destroy the grass via eating the roots, this is not acceptable. Therefore garlic does not work as a long term solution.
The pesticide Accelapryn, which is currently available for emergency use, will work on chafer grubs as easily as it will on leatherjackets. However, if emergency use cannot be obtained, nemotade paste has proven to be particularly effective on chafer grubs.
Ultimately, as with leatherjackets, any one method may not be suited to a club, and a mix of methods may be required. At Mango Golf, we believe in using our decades of industry experience in making sure that every club has the right methods to deal with their pest problem. If your club is struggling with leatherjackets or any other pest and you wish to speak to us about it, book a free 30-minute consultation today.