What Do Grubs Turn Into?

For some time now, a fantastic transformation has been taking place across North America. And people have been asking about it.

According to the reports, many eye-witnesses have noticed that some white, wriggly grubs, usually about the size of a human thumb, would wall themselves off inside rotting logs.

After a few weeks, these grubs would then shape-shift into something else entirely.

Oftentimes, some say that they turn into ponderous insects that share the same name as a Roman demigod.

Others say they turn into butterflies. But in this article, we are going to keep the lines clear-cut by analyzing the nature of the exact things that grubs turn into.

What Exactly Are Huhu Grubs? And What Do They Look Like?


Huhu grubs are like your common white grubs. Because like the white grubs, huhu grubs later shape-shift into giant beetles.

The only difference is that huhu grubs are brought to life as the larvae of Huhu beetles. These beetles are found only in New Zealand.

They are nocturnal, attracted to lights of human dwellings, and can be up to hundreds of millimeters in length. As such, huhu beetles are considered to be the heaviest beetles in the entire New Zealand ecosystem.

Over there, their larvae (the huhu grubs) belong to one of the most common traditional delicacies. In fact, some New Zealanders, especially the native Maoris, claim that these huhu grubs taste just like buttery chicken and resemble peanut butter.

That’s if you eat them with your eyes closed, of course. But even when they’re not eaten, locals use these huhu grubs as bait for fishing.

On the flip side, white grubs not only represent the larval stage of several species of scarab beetles. They can transform into chafers as well. Among their adult stages, the two most troublesome species are the European chafer and the Japanese beetle.

Structurally, adult European chafers have a golden or brown tan and are about ½ inches long.

Their grubs are distinguished from others by the Y-shaped anal opening and by the parallel spine rows on their raster. As for the adult Japanese beetles, you can easily recognize them with their shiny, metallic-green head and body.

Their grubs are small with light brown heads and a V-shaped raster pattern.

Generally, the bodies of beetle grubs are white or cream-colored with a brown head. They have soft, C-shaped bodies with legs positioned near the head. And oftentimes, they feed on grassroots and any organic matter they come across in the soil.

The after-effects of their feeding cause different sections of grass in your lawn to die. But not for long; because a white grub eventually turns into adult Beetles. These then emerge from the soil to mate, lay eggs and continue the cycle in another region.

READ MORE: 8 Common Bugs That Look Like Bed Bugs.

What Kind of Beetles Do  Grub Worms Turn into?

First, let’s get this out of the way; grubs are NOT true worms.

Instead, they are the larvae of giant insects, particularly beetles as pointed out earlier. But because they look more like creamy earthworms with legs, many people mistake them for worms.

In fact, they go by many names. From simple grubs to grub worms, lawn grubs, white grubs, brown grubs, and even turf grubs, these insect larvae have many aliases all over the globe.

However, no matter what you call them, there’s a rule of thumb about their life cycle. And that is; all grubs will eventually transform into some kind of scarabaeid beetle. In the US, 8 different species of these scarab beetles are common in our backyards.

Among them are the Japanese beetles,  the June bugs, the Asiatic garden beetles, and the green June beetles. In other places, species like oriental beetles, the northern and southern masked chafers, the black turf-grass ataenius, and the European chafers have also been recognized.

Truth be told, giant white grubs look odd. In fact, some people find them irritating. But then again, their emerging adult beetles are much more handsome than their ugly-looking larva stages. So, let’s look more closely at 5 of those common grub-adults found in the US, shall we?

1. Japanese Giant Beetles.

No doubt; Japanese giant beetles are one of the biggest pests your garden can welcome in summer. During that time, they would eat their way through your roses, shade trees, fruit trees, and even your veggie garden. Yet, it would feel as if their stomachs are never full. And to some degree, that’s quite true.

You see, Japanese beetles lay eggs like most insects. These eggs, however, later turn into grubs that eat the roots of your lawn in tandem for two different seasons. One in late summer and again in Spring. Then, those creamy grubs would turn into beetles; all ready to go at it over again. So, yes is the answer if you’re asked that question; do grubs turn into Japanese Giant Beetles? 

Somehow, these menacing beetles were accidentally introduced to the US from Japan. Currently, the United States Department of Agriculture rates the Japanese beetle as the most widespread of the turf pests in the US. In fact, these Japanese beetles can eat about 300+ different plants.  As such, their infestation on your lawn would mean serious damage; not only in their adult form but in their grub stage as well.

However, you can easily spot Japanese beetles on your lawn by their bright green head and brown forewings. As such, people have devised various means to control their spread. Such methods include using beetle-eating wasps and introducing disease from bacteria.

2. June Beetles.

What Do Grubs Turn Into

Like the Japanese beetles, some grubs also turn into June Bugs, aka May beetles or June beetles. Naturally, these bugs can be found almost everywhere in the eastern United States.

Their grubs are white, C-shaped and they have a three-year life cycle. In their first year, these grubs remain mostly dormant until the late second year when noticeable damage to your turf would begin. By the fall of that same year, soil temperature usually tends to cool down. So, the grubs again burrow deeper into the soil to prepare for winter.

By May through July of the following year, adult June bugs would begin to emerge with wings. These adults would then feed mainly on flowers and leaves to the point of damage. Also, June Beetles are often attracted to light. So, they prefer to appear during spring evenings.

Compared to adults, the grubs of June Beetles cause more damage. This damage starts as a mere thinning of the grass on your lawn.

From there, it advances to the patches that wilt and die for several days. Once the grass is terribly damaged, you have no other choice than to replant it at another appropriate time. While waiting, you might be unlucky to battle the weeds that would have taken the advantage of your lawn’s weakness.

However, here’s good news; healthy grass can normally withstand up to 5 grubs per square foot. So, if your lawn is healthy, it can stay that way until the adult beetle emerges. But then again, since the life of a June beetle is short-lived, it won’t be long before you start having the same issues all over again. So, the best course of action you can follow is to find a way to break the cycle.

READ MORE: What do Baby Cockroaches Look Like?

3. Asiatic Garden Beetle.

These beetles are found mostly in the eastern United States. Like its Japanese relatives, the Asiatic beetles were accidentally introduced from Asia to the US in the early 1900s. Today, they have flourished in North America, causing unspeaking damages to our lawns.

The damages they often cause are similar to the ones caused by the Japanese beetles in both grubs and adults. But unlike the Japanese beetles, Asiatic beetles are more active at night and are attracted to light sources.

You can identify adult Asiatic garden beetles by their brown wings and body. According to experts, these wings gave them some kind of chestnut or cinnamon-brown body. Though, they may also come in black. Asiatic beetles are quite small with a maximum length of about a half-inch.

4. Northern And Southern Masked Chafers.

Well…you guessed it; these two beetles live in the north and south of the United States. In these areas, they are most commonly known as “annual grubs”  due to their one-year life cycle. Because of that same condition, their adults are not problematic pests since they don’t eat during that short lifetime. Their larvae, however, are nothing to write home about considering the kind of damage they can cause.

Talking of damage, grubs of masked chafers are among the worst of the worst. In mild infestation cases, your lawn would have the appearance of being drought-stressed. In worst-case scenarios, masked chafers would cause so much damage to the roots in late summer. By the end, you could even lift your lawn up like a carpet. Blimey, right?

But then, these bugs are not alien in the grub world. Because like June Beetles, Masked Schafer adults have an overall white color with a reddish-brown head, six legs, and a C-shaped body. Likewise, both of them fly at night and are attracted by porch lights, headlights, or any light source at all. But then again, Masked beetles are smaller in size; usually less than one inch long. Though according to some experts, the southern ones are a bit larger and have a richer color. Though compared to the northern ones, they have less visible hairs around the bottom of their abdomens.

5. Black Turf-grass Ataenius Beetle.

Unlike most other beetles in their family, these black beetles are quite small. In fact, they only reach a maximum length of just about ¼ inch. But then, if you underrate them because of the tiny size, your lawn would pay the price. Because you see,  Black Turfgrass Atenius lawn grubs feed on 3 major species of grass. These include bentgrass, annual bluegrass, and Kentucky bluegrass.

Now, as we all know these grasses are grown on economical scales on golf courses. So, black beetles are primarily a big problem for owners of golf courses. Though occasionally, their grubs also attack home lawns. In the US, Northern states are much more affected, partly because bentgrass and bluegrass are cool-season grasses. Since the North is home to many cool areas, you can guess why these bugs are a big problem in these areas as well as on the west coast.

While size can clearly make you identify a black beetle from the other, it’s not the only marker. Another major difference between them and other scarabs is that their grubs pupate only in the fall. Afterward, their adults then spend the colder months under soil, leaves, or other decaying foliage till they emerge in spring. When they do, their major purpose is to mate and restart their life again.

READ MORE: Top Natural Ways To Get Rid of Waterbugs

Do Grubs Fly?

Now that we know that all grubs later shape-shift into giant beetles which most often, can fly. Does this mean that white grubs can fly too? Well… the answer is no! And that’s because these grubs, as per the larva stage of an insect, don’t have wings yet. Wings can only be found in most adult beetles. Their forewings are what we see as hardcovers on their backs. The true flying wings lie just beneath. And with it, an adult beetle can travel to the edge of its world.

Oftentimes, these adult scarab beetles fly only at night. During the day, they remain buried in the soil. So, you probably would have seen some of them flying around the porch light on your property or perhaps, flying into screen doors.

Do grubs turn into anything? 

This article has taken you through some of the various beetles that grubs turn into. But then, as we pointed out, grubs don’t just turn into anything. They specifically transform into beetles, not moths, not caterpillars, but scarab beetles. Okay?

Now, normally, these grub worms aren’t dangerous to humans. But then, they attack one of the things many of us hold most dear; our lawns and fruit gardens. So if you’ve ever seen what a yard with a grub infestation looks like, you’d know why many people are itching to get rid of them fast.

Aside from that, grubs cause some sort of indirect damage to your yard by introducing predators. You see, such animals as raccoons, crows, skunks, and foxes love to eat grubs. To get their yummy protein prize, they tend to dig in your yard to find them. Raccoons especially are bad news for a household property. So, are grubs bad or dangerous? Well… the answer depends on the perspective of who’s asking.

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