I have beautiful, rich compost, and it's full of red worms. BUT, with every shovel full I also find tons of big, fat cream-colored grubs! They're disgusting. Are they larvae waiting to be some other useful creature, or should I do something to get rid of them - I wouldn't know how because there are so many. I suppose they're good at aerating the soil, but...yuck!
My first thought was that they are beetle larvae, possibly Japanese Beetles.
I find these in compost or my sod whenever I dig, I just squish them with my fingers. This may help with an identification.
That's exactly it, Norm! Thank you so much! Now I know what they are, and since I can't stand Japanese Beatles, I'll have to dispose of the nasty creatures. They don't move very fast. They stayed curled like in the picture, and they're very fat. Ugghhh! Thanks again.
I would advise you to be excited to see larvae in you compost. It means that something else is feeding on your scraps and it also means that chances are that you have a vibrant healthy ecosystem growing there. And that is exactly what you want with compost. The nutrients in compost are great and fine but, what really benefits your plants and your garden is the myriad of beneficial micro and macroscopic oranisms that inhabit the compost.
The same goes for leaf mold piles. I don't like snakes and they give me the shivers but, they do play a vital role ( the garder snakes) in my garden by keeping the slug population down and thereby reducing herbivory. Not to mention the beetles that overwinter there that help to churn up my soil.
Wow! So, those nasty things are actually beneficial? Go figure Well, I DO love to plunge my shovel in the compost and watch the whole thing squirm with red worms because I know that's a good sign (I'm also noticing a lot of them out in the garden, as well). I'll just have to deal with the grubs, I guess. Thanks for the info.
They are reasonably well protected in your compost. Once you spread it out on your garden I should think the birds will be feasting. I have a problem with vine weevil larvae sometimes. They look very similar but are smaller. The birds gather as soon as I start spreading. They know they are in for a treat!
Yes, each spring when I turn my cover crops over in my garden and bring up all these grubs, the Robyns flock in and eat everything in site. It's fun to watch. A few grubs get away or just evade predation and grow up into beetles and other insects that help to churn up my soil and feed on detritus in my garden. Some I'm sure eat my plants but, hey; you have to give a little to take a little.
Hey Norm, if you don't like the look of them, any robins around will get them if they are above the soil. And they do feed on the organic matter helping to break down your compost. Some will feed on other insects and what not leaving behind a trail of differently combined feces, further enriching your compost.
So, crushing them just realy adds yet another mix into your compost pile.
Hey Norm, if you don't like the look of them, any robins around will get them if they are above the soil.
It's not that, I have trouble with the adult Japanese Beetle in my area and consider them somewhat of a pest.
Perhaps I wrongly assumed that they are all the same species but I can't tell the difference. I do agree with your premise that a varied insect population is an indicator of a healthy and diverse ecosystem.
Norm, have you tried looking up online what the Japanese Beelte larva looks like? That would be a good idea because if you have an invasive; it is wise to do all you can to be rid of it. I 100% agree with you there.