Why are my friends so gross?

I was digging in one of my raised beds the other day and found a giant white grub — nearly 2″ long with a dark brown spot on one end, and 4 or 6 claws on that same end.  Grossed me out, but before I did anything to it, I did a little Googling to make sure it wasn’t anything beneficial.

At first, I thought it was the Japanese beetle grub, which eats plant roots.  So I tossed it into an empty plastic Folgers coffee can for later disposal and continued to dig.   I found another. And another. And another. The Folgers can was now half full of giant squirming maggots, and I could hear the damn things scrabbling at the sides and bottom with their little claws desperately trying to get out.  Worse, I estimated I had only gotten about a quarter of them out of the bed, if I was lucky.

Back to Google to learn how to organically nuke the suckers.

Turns out further research was a good thing. According the the University of Arizona, as of July 2011 the Japanese beetle has not yet come to Arizona. What I found are actually Bumble Flower Beetle larvae, which are beneficial.  They tend to pupate in horse manure and compost, which is what makes up about 2/3 of the “soil” in my raised beds (the other 1/3rd being rotting straw).

So I dumped the squirming coffee can back into the garden soil, took a shower, and had a drink. They may be beneficial but … ew.

Seriously, that is one ugly bug.

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