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Gluttonous Grubs

Researchers investigate new ways to control grubs on athletic fields.

Grubs are gross. Lack of "cuteness factor" aside, what athletic field managers, golf course superintendents, and homeowners find most repulsive about Japanese beetle larvae is their voracious appetite for grass roots.

A neonicotinoid insecticide--imidacloprid--can control grubs. However, in recent years it seems to be losing its effectiveness. Andrew Huling, master's degree candidate in turfgrass entomology in the Department of Plant Science, and his adviser, Ben McGraw, associate professor of turfgrass science, are testing their theory that cultural practices and microorganisms in the soil may reduce uptake and prematurely degrade the insecticide.

"It's gratifying to be able to conduct research that can help the industry and homeowners," said Huling.

--Amy Duke