As an experienced nature lover, I have had the opportunity to observe squirrels all over the world. Something that many homeowners are asking me is: do squirrels eat grubs?
Yes, squirrels eat grubs. Grubs are a common food source for many species of squirrels. They typically eat the larvae of certain beetles, as well as other invertebrates and their eggs. Grubs can also provide essential nutrients to squirrels in their diets.
If you’re not careful, those pesky critters can get into your yard and cause havoc. In this blog post, I’m going to share with you my expertise on how you can keep your yard safe from these critters and their grub-eating habits.
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Do Squirrels Eat Grubs? – Overview
Grubs are the larval stage of certain types of insects such as beetles, flies, and wasps. They feed on root systems, damaging flowers, plants and trees. When these underground pests become numerous, they can be difficult to manage. But do squirrels eat grubs? In this article, we’ll explore what grubs look like, which types of insects can turn into grubs and how to determine if you have a grub infestation in your yard.
What are Grubs and What Do They Look Like?
Grubs typically appear in late summer or early fall after hatching from eggs laid by adult beetles or other insects. After hatching from their eggshells, they feed on the roots of grasses and other vegetation near the soil‘s surface. These small white larvae range from ¼ inch long for some species to up to 1 ½ inches for others.
When disturbed, they curl up in a C-shape in self-defense–and it’s easy to identify them this way! While all grub species may be found just beneath the soil’s surface during their larval stage, some species may burrow several feet down.
What Kind of Insects do Squirrels Eat?
Squirrels are omnivores with a diet that primarily consists of tree nuts (acorns), fungi (mushrooms), bark (especially pine cones!), seeds and fruits – but they also eat larvae such as ground beetle larvae too! Ground beetle larvae are part of their diet especially when there is an abundance of ground beetle larvae around – like during late summer.
Aside from grubs being found on the chipmunks’ menu already mentioned before: moths caterpillars and even earthworms could also potentially feature highly on certain squirrel diets.
How to Identify a Grub Infestation in Your Yard
Grubs are small, white larvae of beetles and lay beneath the soil surface. They feed on the roots of grass and can quickly cause severe damage to lawns. This can be especially frustrating if you are trying to get green grass as those larvae can really damage your garden.
Signs of a grub infestation include patches of dead brown grass, increased skunk or raccoon activity, and moles or birds feeding on the grass. If you suspect a grub problem, check in areas that seem most affected by digging up spots of soil at least four inches deep. Look for white C-shaped grubs with legs and black heads near plant roots.
How to Keep Your Yard Safe from Grubs?
Grubs can be a major problem in lawns and gardens, especially during hot weather. Small animals such as ground beetles or larvae of other insects are likely to cause the damage to your lawn.
1. Permethrin Repellent Sprays
Permethrin is an insecticide that has been used for centuries by humans for pest control purposes. It has the ability to repel many insects, including grubs. Permethrin can be purchased in ready-to-use spray form from most gardening stores and should be applied around your yard’s perimeter on all surfaces where pests might enter.
In addition to being an effective deterrent against grubs, regular use of permethrin can help protect against ticks (which have become increasingly prevalent in recent years in the Bay Area).
- Check if local regulations permit application prior use.
- Be sure to follow label instructions when using permethrin repellents.
- For best results, reapply every two weeks or as needed.
2. Phosphorus Based Repellents
Phosphorus based repellents work similarly to permethrin products; however they contain organic compounds rather than synthetic ingredients.
- Check if local regulations permit application prior use.
- Apply around areas where you think pests could enter.
- Be sure not apply near water sources.
- Wear appropriate safety gear when handling this product.
3. Soaps and Detergents
Soaps made with natural oils such as citrus oil or lemongrass oil make great DIY organic options that won’t harm the environment if used correctly—simply mix desired essential oils into warm water then apply this solution onto affected surfaces around your yard each month.
Additionally adding liquid dishwashing detergent (in small amounts!) into standing/ stagnant water bodies on your property can help reduce levels of standing water attracting mosquito activity since these body waters often provide a breeding area for mosquitoes & other flying bugs.
4. Natural Predators For Reducing The Number Of Grubs In Your Yard
Birds are one of the most effective natural predators when it comes to reducing grub populations in your yard. Chickens, ducks, quails, geese – even wild birds such as starlings and sparrows work great. They eat large numbers grubs while they search for food on lawns.
Ground beetles are another natural predator that can help reduce populations in your yard. These predators hunt at night and feed on larval insects like slugs, snails, ants and grubs. By setting up traps with bait like oatmeal or rolled oats near root crops or vegetable patches during the night will attract ground beetles which will then feast on these insect larvae.
5. Attracting more squirrels in your yard
Squirrels like to eat grubs, so why try to attract more of them in your yard. You can do this by providing them with some water or by periodically spreading some nuts around your lawn.
Understanding Squirrel Behavior
When it comes to their eating habits, squirrels are very adaptable and opportunistic; they will look for an easy meal wherever they can find one. This means that when there is an abundance of grubs, a type of larvae found in the ground and eaten by many animals, squirrels may use them as an occasional snack.
Grubs are the larvae form of various types of ground beetles, which can be black or dark brown in color. They have a white body and six short legs with a yellowish head capsule that appears during the third instar stage. They often measure up to 45 mm long.
Do Squirrels Eat Grubs Regularly or are They Occasional Snackers?
While squirrels have been known to occasionally eat grubs, they don’t typically make them a regular part of their diet. Instead, they prefer insects such as caterpillars and other arthropods like spiders.
What Does That Mean for Your Yard?
If squirrels are eating grubs in your yard, you could have a problem. The grubs can damage your grass and lawn, leading to an unsightly lawn that’s difficult to maintain. Thankfully, there are some ways you can prevent the pests from snacking on your yard’s grub population. Fencing or shock wires are effective deterrents that will keep the furry critters away from your yard. Additionally, eliminating excess vegetation and clutter around your property can make it harder for squirrels to access the grubs in the first place.
So, do squirrels eat grubs? Absolutely! Squirrels will typically eat just about any insect they can get their hands on, and grubs are no exception. While they’re not a particular favorite of the critters, they’ll still consume them if given the chance.
The best way to keep your yard safe from pesky critters like squirrels that would munch on your grubs is to take steps to make sure none of them can access your plants or lawn. Enclosing gardens in protective fencing and using animal-friendly repellents are two great options for keeping squirrels away and ensuring that your garden remains grub-free.
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