If you’ve grown vegetables or fruits in your garden for years, you’ve probably seen grubs on the underside of leaves.
You may not have known what they were or thought they didn’t affect your plants. However, if you’re a gardener who loves keeping their vegetables watered and fed with nutritious organic material, then you know that it is never a good idea to leave these pests undisturbed.
When left alone, grubs will chew holes in your leaves and spread plant diseases to other parts of the plant. Luckily, there are ways to have these pests in your garden without being harmed
What Is a Witchetty Grub?
A witchetty grub is a small insect that looks like an earthworm with legs. They live under the ground and feed on different types of roots of plants. The smaller their food source is, the more active they become and so do their activities become visible as well as harmful ones.
These insects are famous for thriving in moist soil conditions and sandy soils as well as close proximity to vegetable plants such as carrots or celery because they love carrot family plants especially carrots and celery.
They reproduce quickly when conditions are right – by producing several females (males are very rare).
A single female can lay up to 250 eggs daily while her offspring will hatch after 14-28 days depending on temperature and humidity conditions around them at any given time during their development process.
How to Have Witchetty Grubs in Your Garden Without Harming Plants
Witchetty grubs are an unfortunate pest for gardeners but there are a few things you can do to ensure these pests don’t destroy your plants.
- Watering your plants thoroughly and consistently.
- Mulching the soil around the plants so that it does not become too dry.
- Keeping the leaves of your plants well watered as this will encourage them to keep their leaves from becoming chalky which is a sign of grub damage.
Shallow Depth of Soil Preferred by Witchetty Grubs
Grubs like to work in shallow soil as this allows them to move easily and is not too deep for them to get stuck. They are also fond of sandier soils because it gives them the opportunity to burrow into plants easier.
If you want to keep grubs under control, use a combination of mulch and compost or soil amendments to make your garden deeper, but just not so deep that they can’t move at all.
Keep Watering as a Habitat for Witchetty Grubs
Keeping your vegetables watered is a vital part of maintaining a healthy garden. If you notice grubs in your garden, it’s advisable to keep watering as a habit so that they don’t have anything else to feed on.
One way to do this is by keeping the soil around and in your garden moist with water and mulch. You can also use floating row covers or sheet mulches for your garden to keep the soil moist at all times and discourage egg-laying from female grubs.
A layer of wet hay placed over the top of the soil will give them what they need without ruining the rest of your plants.
Plant Witchetty Grub Food for Good Bugs
While there are ways to kill or remove witchetty grubs in your garden, there is an alternative that can actually benefit your garden. Planting a food source for good bugs will attract these insects and they’ll make it their mission to protect your plants from any other harmful pests like caterpillars or mites.
Fruit tree leaves, such as apple, pear and peach trees all contain the chemicals the insects need to survive. However, since the fruits of these trees are too high up off the ground for most insects, a couple of vegetables would do the trick. Plants that you can use include Jerusalem artichoke, sunflower and beetroot.
The Jerusalem artichoke plant does well in soil that is around 6-8 inches deep which makes it perfect for planting near vegetable plants because its roots will be able to grow down into the soil where worms live.
The celery plant’s roots grow horizontally which means they will be able to reach farther than those on a regular plant and therefore facilitate better protection against grub infestation. You can also place some seeds into damp sand which will eventually grow enough vegetation to provide food for any grubs that may get into your garden.
With the proper care and attention, these small, brown insects can provide a beneficial service for your garden without any harm to plants.
But, like most of the insects that you’ll find in your garden, they will eat aphids and other pests.