Maggots Under My Lawn

grass image by Brett Bouwer from

Maggots are pests that turn into even bigger pests that no one wants to deal with. However, maggots and grubs are often mistaken for one another. Knowing the difference between the two insects is important when trying to remove either pest.


Maggots are the larvae of various species of flies, including the blow fly, the house fly and the biting fly (stable fly). Maggots generally do not reside directly beneath lawns, though they are similar in appearance with their cream or milky-white colouring. Meanwhile, grubs -- which do reside beneath lawns -- are the larvae of various beetles, such as the Japanese beetle or the masked chafer beetle.


Flies lay eggs in areas like dustbins or compost piles, while beetles lay their eggs beneath the soil. This is why a homeowner may find maggots at the bottom of their dustbin or in their compost pile; while they may find a similar-looking insect (the grub) beneath their grass. Beetle larvae feed off the roots of lawns, so this is one of the main reasons why grubs are found beneath lawns.


Maggots can often be dealt with simply by removing their source of food, though it should be noted that in compost piles, maggots do more good than harm. Meanwhile, lawn grubs may require more extensive treatment due to the massive amount of damage they can cause to a lawn. The grubs can often be killed with products available both online and at a local garden or home improvement centre. The lawn, too, will need to be repaired depending on how extensive the damage is.


There are ways to prevent lawn damage from grubs, though for some homeowners this may be a lose-lose type of battle. Beetles favour green, well-watered lawns for laying their eggs. Watering the lawn less frequently or even allowing it to dry more thoroughly will help discourage beetles from laying their eggs. It may also be worthwhile to simply watch for the first signs of grub damage and treat as it occurs. With the first symptoms of lawn grub damage, such as dark brown or dead patches, use an insecticide to kill off the grubs. Regular monitoring can help reduce the extent of the damage, even if it cannot prevent grubs from occurring all together.

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