What Do Grub Worms Turn Into?

Hey there! Some links on this page are affiliate links which means that, if you choose to make a purchase, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. I greatly appreciate your support!

Briefly put, grub worms or grubs are the larvae of different types of beetles. They live below the grass in lawns throughout the United States and can cause a lot of damage to yards and gardens. But, interestingly enough, grub worms are not really fully developed insects.

What I mean is that grubs are only an intermediate stage of an insect’s life before they metamorphose. What do grub worms turn into, you ask? Well, let’s dive right in and find out!

What exactly is a grub worm?

What do grub worms turn into?

Grub worms are the larval stage of a beetle. They are the in-between stage before they become adults and can be found in many different environments. The female beetle lays an egg, and the grub worm emerges.

They live underground and eat decaying matter. Grub worms have a lot of beneficial qualities, such as creating nutrient-rich soil, and they play an important role in the life cycle of plants.

On the flip side, grubs can be a nuisance to homeowners because they feed on the roots of grasses and other plants, but they don’t typically do much damage.

Some people refer to them as “lawn grubs” or “white grubs.” In some parts of the country, they’re also known as “turf grubs” or “caterpillars.”

What do grub worms turn into?

As I said, grub worms are usually the larvae of scarab beetles. There are eight different types of scarab beetles that are common in yards throughout the United States. The most common type is the Japanese beetle.

But the others are Asiatic Garden beetles, June bugs, Oriental beetles, Green June Beetles, European chafers, southern and northern chafers, and black turfgrass ataenius beetles.

As grubs, they are plump and white with dark heads. However, when they reach adulthood, they turn into some of the most beautiful beetles around. They are metallic green or coppery colored with black spots on their wing covers.

What are some of the different beetles that grub worms turn into?

grub worms turn into beetles.

Well, now we know that all grub worms turn into beetles as they develop into adults. But which are these beetles? In this section, I have discussed a little about the beetles that these grubs turn into, just to give you an idea of the full picture of a grub’s life!

June bugs

June bugs or beetles are a type of scarab beetle that is found in the Eastern United States. They are typically brown or black in color and can be identified by their characteristic sparkling brown wings that fold over their body when they are at rest.

June bugs are also referred to as May bugs, and they feed on flowers and foliage. In some cases, these larvae can cause damage to plants and are particularly noticeable in the spring.

The larvae of June bugs are also sometimes referred to as true white grubs. These larvae can be more destructive than their adult forms and can cause significant damage to plants and crops. Further, these grubs can live for about three years in the soil.

Green June beetles

The green June beetle is found in the eastern United States and as far west as Texas. They are a type of scarab beetle and get their name from their green color. They are typically found near water sources, such as ponds, lakes, and rivers.

In their grub form, they can cause significant damage to plants as they feed on the roots. They can also burrow into the soil, making it difficult for plants to get the nutrients they need to grow.

Interestingly, the larval stage grub worms are unusual because they often crawl to the top of soil during the night. This is most likely due to their lack of legs–grubs use their back portion to crawl rather than using their set of six legs.

Japanese beetles

Japanese beetles are a type of turf pest that has spread throughout the United States. They can cause significant damage to plants, trees, and crops.

Japanese beetle larvae can be a major nuisance in lawns. The grubs will eat the roots of the grass, resulting in dead patches throughout the lawn.

The most interesting fact about Japanese beetles, which have now become one of the most easily found species in the United States of America, is that these beetles are an invasive species imported by mankind himself!

Invasive Japanese Beetles have been a problem in the United States for many years. There have been various attempts to control their spread, including releases of beetle-eating wasps and bacteria that cause disease in the beetles.

Despite these efforts, the beetles continue to spread and cause damage to plants.

Asiatic garden beetles

Asiatic garden beetles are a type of beetle that is found in the eastern United States.

Asian garden beetles are brown in color with chestnut or cinnamon brown wings and bodies that are about 3/8 of an inch long. They can be identified by their characteristic yellow stripe markings on their black bodies.

Adult Asiatic garden beetles are quite small. They have a reddish-brown color with black markings on their wing covers. These beetles enjoy feeding on the leaves of plants, and they can often be found near gardens or in other outdoor areas that host vegetation.

Oriental beetles

Oriental beetles are a type of beetle that was accidentally brought to North America from Asia. They are now considered a pest because they feed on plants and can cause significant damage.

While oriental beetles are not particularly harmful pests, their larvae or grubs can cause plenty of damage. Oriental beetle’s grub worms feed on the roots of plants, which can kill them. If you have an oriental beetle problem, it’s important to treat both the adults and the grubs.

This is a common type of beetle that can be found on the East Coast of the United States. More specifically, it can be found from New England all the way down to North Carolina.

Southern and northern masked chafer beetles

Southern and northern masked chafer beetles are two of the most common types of grub worms. They are found in different parts of the United States—the southern masked chafer beetle is found in the south, while the northern masked chafer beetle is found in the north.

Southern masked chafer beetles are slightly larger than their northern counterparts and can be distinguished by their black heads.

Thankfully, chafers do not cause any problems since they don’t eat during their short lifetime. However, their larvae (grub worms) sometimes cause a lot of damage as they feed on the roots of plants.

European chafer beetles

European chafer beetles are a type of beetle that is native to Europe, exactly as the name suggests. They have recently been introduced to the United States and are now considered invasive species.

These small, brown insects can be found in fields and gardens, where they feed on the roots of plants.

Despite being called “worms,” they do not feed and are harmless to humans. These grubs cause extensive damage to turfgrass, so it is important to be able to identify them.

The European chafer beetle is a light brown colored beetle that has wings and a body. Its most distinct feature is the “V” shape on its back.

Black turfgrass ataenius

Black turfgrass ataenius beetles are small and shiny. They are black with a metallic green sheen and can be found throughout the United States.

Grub worms of this beetle species live for about two years. In the fall, they pupate, and in the spring, they emerge to mate. After mating, the female beetle will lay eggs, and the life cycle starts over again.

Following their mating in the colder months of the year, a new generation of black turfgrass ataenius beetle grubs are born halfway through the summer.

What do grub worms look like?

Grub worms

Grub worms, being larvae of different types of beetles, resemble the larvae of other insects to an extent. They are cream-colored with six legs in the front of the body and an orange-brown colored head. They can be found in soil, compost, and under leaves.

Moreover, grub worms have a distinctive raster pattern on their last section of the body that can be studied with a magnifying glass and guide.

This pattern is composed of small hexagons that form a honeycomb-like shape. The raster pattern can be used to identify the species of grub worm.

Interestingly, there are other pests that look similar to grub worms and can be mistaken for them.

Billbug larvae, which lack legs, are cream-colored and C-shape, are only about half-inch in size when fully grown. Therefore, the main identifying features are the lack of legs and the difference in size!

How big in size do grub worms grow?

Grub worms are the larval forms of many different types of beetles. They vary in size, depending on the species.

Some grow to be quite large, while others remain relatively small. Some are smaller than one inch when they reach maturity, while others can be much larger.

Where do grub worms come from?

Grub worms are beetle larvae.

Grub worms come from the eggs laid by adult female beetles. The eggs hatch into grub worms, which feed on plant roots. They will eventually turn into adult beetles. Grub worms hatch in the early spring and start feeding right away.

They will continue to feed until late fall, when they will go into hibernation after developing into pupae and emerge as adults in late summer or early fall.

What do giant lawn grubs turn into?

June bugs are the adult forms of giant lawn grubs. After spending their larval stage underground, they pupate and emerge as June bugs. They are named after the month in which they typically hatch and can be identified by their characteristic reddish-brown coloration.

These helpful larvae break down decaying wood and other organic matter, returning nutrients to the soil.

What do grub worms generally feed on?

Grub worms are typically found in the soil, where they feed on the roots of plants. While they can help to aerate the soil, they can also cause damage by eating the roots of plants.

Are grub worms bad or harmful to your garden?

Yes, grub worms are bad for your garden. Grub worms can be a nuisance in your garden, mainly because they eat the roots of plants, causing the grass to turn brown, yellow, or gray. In addition, they may damage plants and trees in your garden.

Predators of grub worms include birds, raccoons, skunks, and opossums. These predators can eat the grubs and damage your lawn indirectly.

What is the upside of having grub worms on your lawn?

The main advantage of having grub worms on your lawn is that these larvae will ensure that your soil is properly aerated by crawling its way through the depths.

Further, some grubs that don’t belong to the scarab beetle family can play an essential role in aiding the process of biodegradation of compost and organic waste material in the soil!

Do you need to treat grub worms on your lawn?

Grub worms can cause damage to your lawn.

Grub worms are the larvae of June beetles and can cause a lot of damage to your lawn. To determine if you have a grub worm problem, cut a square foot piece of grass and remove it. Look for worms or their evidence (mounds of earth, tunnels, etc.).

If you think you have grubs in your yard, you will need to take a sample and have it analyzed by a professional. You can also look for the signs of grubs, which include patches of dead grass, mounds of dirt, and overturned sod.

Grub worms, being the larval stage of beetles, can cause a lot of damage to your lawn. If you have a significant infestation, you will need to treat the lawn for grub worms. There are a few different ways to do this, but the most common is with an insecticide.

When should you consider treatment for grub worms?

Grub worms are fairly peculiar-looking larvae that turn into much more handsome adult scarab beetles. By now, you know that grub worms can be a big nuisance and can cause damage to your lawn.

Therefore, you will certainly want to treat your yard or lawn for their presence before they devour the roots of your plants!

So when should you consider treatment for grub worms? In their developmental phase, grub worms can cause a lot of damage to your lawn. Therefore, the best time to treat them is around the first week of August.

Though grub worms can cause extensive damage to lawns, they are relatively easy to treat. Insecticides that are applied in late summer or early fall work as preventative treatments and take a while to be effective, but they will eventually kill the grubs.


Grub worms, even though pretty when they turn into adults, are undesirable. Therefore, knowing when to treat them before they actually turn into their adult versions is essential to the well-being of your lawn and plants!

About the author

A biotechnologist by profession and a passionate pest researcher. I have been one of those people who used to run away from cockroaches and rats due to their pesky features, but then we all get that turn in life when we have to face something.