White Grub

Phyllophaga spp.

White grubs
White grubs (May/June beetle larvae) in soil. Photo courtesy of Clemson University - USDA Cooperative Extension Slide Series. Licensed under CC BY 3.0.
White grubs are the soil-dwelling larval form of several types of beetles including May/June beetles and Japanese beetles. They can live in the soil from 1-3 years depending on the species.
White grubs have a cream to grey colored body which is darker toward the rear and an orange or brown head. They form a characteristic "C" shape and have a length of up to 2".
Three white grubs
White grubs of different ages. Photo courtesy of Steven Katovich, USDA Forest Service. Licensed under CC BY 3.0.
White grubs feed on roots, reducing the ability of crops to absorb water and nutrients, particularly during dry conditions. The May/June beetle larva lives in the soil for three years and is the most destructive white grub.
Soil appied insecticides at planting can be effective at controlling white grubs. Once the crop has been planted, there are no remedial treatments and replanting is the only option. Always read and follow all label instructions.
Plowing directly kills many white grubs and exposes the survivors to predators. White grubs spend the cold winter deep in the soil so this is only effective with warmer temperatures in early fall or late spring.