I found a white grub about an inch long, in my soil. At first I thought it looked like a wide, white prawn. It's not the long thin one with the brown head that I've seen online.

I'm having trouble identifying it, or working out how to go about identifying it.

This is in the South of England if that helps.

White Grub

  • I think @Bamboo has got it right, but it might help to say where you dug it up as this will help with the ident: if it was under turf it is almost certainly a chafer but if it is was under a log pile it probably isn't. Feb 21 '17 at 14:10

It's a chafer grub, specifically a cockchafer. These can cause significant problems in lawns, and more occasionally, flower beds. Once they're adult like this, insecticides are relatively ineffectual, so when you find any whilst rootling around, kill them yourself. If it becomes a major problem (plants suddenly wilting or dying in numbers) then it might be worth looking for a nematode solution. These can be found online by googling Nemesys - there are products for all kinds of pests, so make sure you select the right one. The solution is usually watered into the ground and in the case of chafer grubs, September is the optimum time. Certain insecticides applied to the soil much earlier in the year may kill off any juvenile chafers, but one or two of the most effective are no longer available for non professional use in the UK.


The ID in my answer given above is incorrect - the information given which relates to chafer grubs is accurate, including description of their habits and treatments available for them, but now rendered irrelevant to the question. Having seen Jackbug's answer below and done some research, his ID is correct - this is a third stage larvae of the Stag Beetle, which is, indeed, protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, UK. Link with photos of larval stages and all information here http://www.arkive.org/stag-beetle/lucanus-cervus/image-A19506.html

  • Besides, I would agree with your original ID. But rather than a grub, it's a later step: a pupa. Here one from Rosa Chafer: amentsoc.org/insects/glossary/terms/pupa
    – J. Chomel
    Feb 25 '17 at 7:25
  • I think you are right. I buried it again having accidentally dug it up. Hopefully it survived. Feb 27 '17 at 15:31

This is the pupa of a female Lucanus cervus.

It's protected in the UK by some law.

  • I added a link to the Wikipedia page for this species, but it does not describe the pupae. Please add some information on how you identified it, preferably with references. Also, please try to find the law that you mentioned. Thanks!
    – Niall C.
    Nov 30 '14 at 23:12

Just found 2 of these myself identical to the one in your picture. I was struggling to find a picture match but mine are identical to yours. They were in the soil under rotten wood I was moving to another part of the garden. I placed them back under the rotten wood, so hopefully still ok. I have lesser stag beetles in my garden in that general area so may well be one of them.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.