Bandicoots and Lawn Grubs


The native bandicoot is a natural Lawn Grub controller.

If you live near bush land, chances are that one day you will discover your lawn and lovely gardens covered in finger deep conical holes. These are the telltale signs that you have had some bandicoots visiting during the night. Bandicoots look like a large rat with a long pointed nose and while they prefer open grass and playing fields we do find them in Brisbane gardens. They are native Australian marsupial animals, one of several native species that have learnt to adapt to the urban environment. Bandicoots are shy nocturnal creatures that live on a diet of insects, worms, berries and fungi and are even known to eat lizards and small mammals such as mice.

A Bandicoot in a campsite near Brisbane

A Bandicoot in a campsite near Brisbane

They dig up lawns to find one of their favorite meals: lawn grubs. When they sniff out their prey with their long sensitive noses, they quickly scoop out the soil with their front paws and then grab the grubs with their sharp teeth. This is usually in winter and spring before the grub emerges as a beetle in summer. Lawn grubs live just under the surface and chew off the roots of the grass. Bandicoots are natures’ lawn grub killers and while they do dig small holes, the benefit is a reduction in the circles of dead grass that the lawn grubs create. They will not do any long term damage to the lawn.

How to stop the digging?  Chemical sprays can be used to control lawn grubs but with children and pets on the lawn it is not the best control method. However, CSIRO research has produced a very environmentally friendly way to stop this problem. They have tested a microscopic animal, a nematode, that kills the grubs but is totally harmless to plants, humans and other animals. This specific type of nematode can be sprayed onto the lawn  and is now sold commercially as a liquid spray by Ecogrow. Find more information on their website

To fence them out of an area will require chicken mesh buried at least 100mm into the ground, so it is not really practical to keep bandicoots out of your garden. One idea is to provide a mulch pile or open compost heap where the bandicoots can feed.

Bandicoots are territorial and if you remove one bandicoot, it is likely that another will move into the area. As with all native wildlife, bandicoots are protected and cannot be harmed and should not be trapped without a special permit. Using the natural method of spraying nematodes is the best method. It will both eliminate the grubs to stop them killing the grass  and also stop the bandicoots digging, but this has no effect on humans, pets, other animals or your lawn.