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The First Annual Grub Week

Extension educators team up to provide hands-on learning

photo of people looking for grubs
L to R: Joan Cybula, Frank Pizzuto, and Karen Meyers scout for grubs during Oswego County Cooperative Extension’s Grub Week event. Photo by J. Lamboy

The first annual Grub Week was celebrated in Monroe and Oswego Counties in August and September 1998. Grub Week is the brainchild of Ornamentals IPM Educator Jana Lamboy. "I wanted to find a way to drum up excitement about grubs and lawn care," says Lamboy. "A lot of educating needs to be done about grub treatment. Research indicates that 80 percent of all home lawns and golf course fairways don’t need a pesticide for grubs. Furthermore, if grub treatment is necessary, people may not know that fall is the time to do it and that sampling is a necessary step prior to treatment." Grub Week is a time set aside for presentations on grub biology and on the art of scouting and setting damage thresholds for grubs.

Lamboy started the grub education ball rolling early last summer by working with Cornell entomologist Mike Villani to develop a brochure about grub biology and treatment. Fifty copies of the brochure, called "All About White Grubs," were mailed to each of New York’s Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) offices in July with a letter suggesting a Grub Week program as a means of spreading the word about proper treatment for grubs.

CCE educators Brian Eshenaur, of Monroe County, and Joan Cybula, of Oswego County, caught the excitement generated by Lamboy. Each organized a half-day Grub Week event that was held at their respective county facilities. Diverse audiences of 20 to 30 lawn care service providers, golf course superintendents, master gardeners, and school groundskeepers attended each event. Indoor presentations by Lamboy and by Villani were followed by roll-up-your-sleeves sessions on the Extension office grounds, where participants used cup cutters to get soil samples and then counted and identified grubs.

Since the fall Lamboy has been to Albany, Brooklyn, Buffalo, and Olean to educate people about grub scouting, and over 8,000 copies of the grub brochure have been distributed at the request of Extension agents. The second annual Grub Week will begin in August 1999.