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C-shaped white grub with a light brown head held in the palm of a person's hand
Photo: NYSIPM. Click photo to see enlarged version.

White grubs are immature scarab beetles. Although all grubs cause similar damage, the treatment you choose should correspond to the species, which is why treatments should be determined after the grub has been identified by close examination. Yes, someone needs to look.

Larvae are “C”-shaped, with six legs, and well-developed mandibles attached to a defined head capsule. The eight species that occur in NY can be differentiated based on two characters of the abdomen: the raster pattern and the anal slit. Learn how to identify the different species by using the Cornell University Grub ID website.

Grubs can also be identified at a local Cornell Cooperative Extension office or by submitting a specimen or photo to the Insect Diagnostic Laboratory at Cornell University

screen shot of the Cornell University Grub ID webpage
This key is intended to guide users to distinguish among species of white grubs common to the Northeastern United States.  It uses a combination of body size and morphological features and is interactive, so as you make choices, the key eliminates unlikely species matches. Photo: grubid.cals.cornell.edu.