Grubs can be a pain in the backside. They can make your green lawn have brown patches of grass. Apart from that, they also attract other animal pests like raccoons and birds.
If you have a small yard, they would feast on your grass, starting with the roots, then gradually going to the plant itself.
When you see these signs, you need to nip them in the bud before they ruin your beautiful lawn or yard completely.
This article will show you how to get rid of any lawn grub and have your healthy lawn back.
What Do Lawn Grubs Look Like?
It can be hard to identify lawn grubs since they look like other insects, especially in their developmental stages. So, to be sure you have a grub infestation on your lawn, it’s best to know what grubs look like first.
Firstly, the word ‘grub’ is a collective name for a group of thick larvae. Lawn grubs look like worms, only that they have a whitish moist body and a brown head. They feed mainly on plant roots.
Looking at them, you can count six legs in front of their body. Most times, their bodies glisten when exposed to light, and they look like overgrown maggots.
Do Lawn Grubs Come Out All-year Round?
Now, if you’re looking for grubs on grassroots during winter, you would see no signs of them. This is because most grubs ‘hide’ during winter.
In normal temperatures, beetles lay grub eggs. These white eggs are one of the signs you have company. They stay on lawns this way all winter till springtime. When spring comes, they hatch into their larvae form and begin to wreak havoc on your grass. Different birds would flock to your lawn too.
Larvae don’t just remain as larvae, and they grow into something else: adults. These adults reproduce and lay eggs all over your lawn. There are different kinds of grubs, but generally, they are about 3.5 centimeters long and can be creamish or whitish.
The most common type on lawns is the grub of the Japanese beetle. We will come to the type of grubs in a bit.
How Do I Know I Have Grubs in My Lawn?
You cannot treat these pests if you are not sure you have them.
As we stated earlier, grubs look like fat worms, so you should be suspicious if you see anything that looks like a fat worm. However, to be very sure, you need to do a lawn test. Please don’t fret, as it’s nothing complicated.
The first thing to do is to observe your lawn.
Does the grass wither without any reason? Are brown patches on your lawn? If there are, it could mean a grub problem. But, you have to go deeper than just observing patches.
Try to pull out any withered or sick-looking grass. If it comes off easily, you can almost be certain that grubs are the culprits.
Because they devour the roots of grasses and plants.
Once you dig a bit into your lawn, you would start to see grubs. They don’t live too deep in the soil, and they don’t stay too close to the grass either.
Another way to confirm you have these is to note how the soil feels under your feet. If it feels spongy instead of solid, then you could have a grub problem.
How Do I know Japanese Beetles’ Grub?
Like we said earlier, there are different types of grubs. The three most common types of grubs come from the Japanese beetles, May/ June beetles, and European chafer beetles.
Japanese beetles grubs are creamish and have a pointed end. The other types of grubs are roundish. The Japanese beetle grubs are also generally more destructive than other grub types.
Are Grubs Completely Bad?
Even though grubs can ruin your lawn, not all types of grubs are bad.
Yes, you might find brown patches and get alarmed but before you eliminate grubs in your lawn, take some time to observe them. If they cause no significant damage, let them be.
Also, if you find out you have 5 or fewer grubs per square foot of your lawn or garden, it means that you don’t have a serious problem at hand.
If you have more than 10 grubs per square foot, it means you have to control them, as it could develop into a full-blown infestation.
Grubs would always be on lawns because that’s where beetles lay their eggs. But if they are harming your lawn, it’s time to take them out.
What is The Best Way to Get Rid of Grubs in My Lawn?
Your ideal method will depend on three things:
- If you want to use chemicals or you want to go natural,
- How much time you’re willing to spend, and
- How much money you’re willing to spend
There are a variety of methods to get rid of grubs that would suit your preference and pocket.
Although one method might be more effective than the other, all of them reduce the number of grubs literally bugging you significantly.
How to Get Rid of Grubs with Chemicals
Although chemicals get the work done faster than natural methods, they can cause some damage to other things in your lawn.
However, if you face a serious grub problem and are short on time, chemicals are the best way to go.
Since we have established that pesticides can harm your lawn, they should only be used if you have a lot of grubs on them.
If the grubs are few, then any of the natural methods listed after this section would suffice. Pesticides are best suited for a grub infestation as they kill these pests almost immediately.
They majorly come in two forms:
- Liquid and
- Granular forms.
The method of application will depend on what form your pesticide comes in.
How to get rid of grubs with liquid pesticides
When shopping for a liquid pesticide, go for a pesticide that contains trichlorfon and/or carbaryl.
A good grub killer kills promptly. An example of one is Trichlorfon, an effective grub killer.
Having said that, here are 4 quick steps to apply liquid pesticides:
1. Before you start spraying, wet your lawn with some water. This enables the pesticide to infiltrate the soil better, leading to better grub control.
2. When the soil is about half an inch wet, use a backpack sprayer to spray only the affected areas.
3. Avoid areas that have little or no grub population. A grub killer can kill other useful organisms.
4. Depending on how infested your lawn is, you might need to reapply the treatment at intervals till you get the desired result.
How to get rid of grubs with granular pesticides
If you are scared of messing with liquid pesticides, granular ones are the way to go. They are cleaner and easier to use than liquid pesticides. Plus, unused granules can be stored safely for another time.
To apply granular pesticides, follow these steps:
1. Feed the granules into a handheld lawn spreader.
2. Spray on the affected areas. It’s best to do this just before a rainfall so that the soil can really soak up the granules.
3. If there’s no rainfall, water your lawn after application for the best results.
How Do You Get Rid of Grubs Naturally?
If you are not comfortable using chemicals to get rid of lawn grubs, you can always use natural ways to destroy white grubs or any kind. Five ways to get rid of grubs naturally are through:
- Beneficial nematodes
- Milky spores
- Neem oil
- Grub hunting
1. Beneficial nematodes
Beneficial nematodes? Yes, nematodes. These tiny organisms, scientifically known as Heterorhabditis bacteriophoracan, can help you get rid of grub worms, even though they act as pests to some crops.
You don’t need to worry. They are selective in their functions and will only hurt the grubs on your lawn and nothing else. You can’t see nematodes with the naked eye because they are microscopic.
Where can you get nematodes? You don’t have to dig up the soil before you get them. Walk into any garden store and ask for beneficial nematodes or Hb nematodes.
At home, dig up your lawn and share the nematodes into the affected areas. Then, water your lawn for the best results. The nematodes will eat the grub worms naturally, causing the worms to die off.
This might take some time, ranging from months to even years, and is best done in late summer. If you can’t wait that long to treat your lawn, you should go for another method.
2. Milky spore
Milky spore is natural bacteria that can help you combat grubs. They are Bacillus popilliae, beneficial bacteria that deal with grub worms, especially Japanese beetle-born grubs.
How can you get milky spore? You can buy them from a garden store or order online from e-commerce stores like Amazon. These spores usually come in a whitish powder. Spray the milky spore powder on your last, and the bacteria do their work.
As with other natural methods, these spores will take time to deal with your teeming grub population. It would be best if you used milky spores to treat only Japanese beetle grubs, as the spores don’t affect other types of grubs.
3. Neem oil
Now, unlike pesticides that might affect other living things on your lawn or garden, this grub control method won’t.
To use neem oil on your lawn, you have to dilute it with water as it is highly concentrated. Usually, the oil/water ratio to use varies with the lawn size and grub type. A good ratio to use would be two tablespoons of pure neem oil to a gallon of water.
How does neem tree oil affect grubs? It inhibits their hormones, altering the grub’s functions. Eventually, the grub worms die.
You could also check the pack for specific instructions or ask the attendant at the store you got it from. When your neem oil is mixed, spray it on the affected parts of your grass.
This oil also acts as a pest and disease repellant, making it a win-win for you! After some days, check your lawn to see if the grubs have reduced.
4. Grub hunting
Here, you don’t need to buy any substance or get anything to eat the grubs. All you have to do is dig for white or brown grubs!
This method is completely free, with no after-effects on your lawn (besides being a mess after the whole process).
To begin, use a trowel, small spade, or your hands to dig your yard gently. Once you spot a grub, pick it out and leave it on the soil. When you pick them out, they are likely to form a ‘C.’ This is normal.
Grubs love the moist, cool soil environment, so once you take them out of their ‘home,’ they find it difficult to survive. It’s best to do this on a hot day, so the grubs die quicker.
Once they are dead, you can clear their carcasses or leave them on the soil for nutrients. Your lawn would come back after a while fresher and better!
Lime is another way to deal with grubs naturally. Before you use lime, you must check the pH of your soil.
Because lime makes it alkaline. Too much alkalinity is bad for your lawn.
After checking your soil’s pH with a pH test kit, you can proceed to buy lime pellets. These pellets can be obtained from agricultural shops.
Put the pellets in a spreader and concentrate on the grass. This exercise is best done in the fall. Ensure to check your soil pH after the exercise. Ideally, it should be between 6.5-7.5.
Can I use coffee grounds to chase grubs away?
If you want to get rid of lawn grubs, you should avoid coffee grounds. Even though coffee grounds are important in lawn care, they can attract grubs. Grubs feed on coffee grounds, so using these on your lawn will only worsen your grub problem.
What Is The Best Time to Treat for Grubs?
The best time to treat grubs is during spring, early summer, or early fall. This is because grubs are active during these seasons and seem easier to eliminate.
Think about it: would it be easier to kill a live grub or one in a hard casing? That’s right. A live grub would die much faster.
Why? These cases are tough, making it difficult for chemical treatment or substances to pass through.
How to Prevent Grubs on Your Lawn
We couldn’t agree more with the adage that says ‘prevention is better than cure.’ If you do not want to start dealing with a grub infestation, you should kill grubs before laying eggs.
How do you do this? First of all, look for adult beetles. These are the insects that would lay eggs on your soil, which would grow to become grubs.
If you can kill these beetles, you can be sure you have set up a control system. You can use natural treatment to kill adult beetles if you don’t want to use any insecticide on your grass or garden.
You can even turn this into a fun activity for kids! Show them the beetles and monitor as they squash them.
Can I use chemicals to prevent grubs in my yard?
If you are okay with chemical treatment on your grasses and roots, you could choose an insecticide or pesticide. Any insecticide can be used, as beetles are not difficult to eliminate.
There are also products specially designed to ensure grubs turn up dead. How do they control these worms? They kill and control grub eggs before they have a chance to hatch.
These products do the same work as pesticides, so go for a regular pesticide if you can’t find them. Ensure you regularly spray to control grubs and avoid patches of grass.
Can long grass prevent grubs on my lawn?
Yes. Long grass can prevent beetles from breeding on your lawn, which in turn prevents grubs from appearing, particularly in summer.
The grass about 2-3 inches tall will stop them from laying eggs. This controls white grubs in your garden during spring, early summer, or fall. You can make this part of your lawn care routine.
We’ve seen that a low grub population on your grass or garden shouldn’t be much of a problem, but having many grubs in your lawn is.
Remember, getting rid of lawn grubs in their larvae stages, not in their pupae or adult stages. When they become adults in spring, getting rid of them becomes harder as they spread little grub eggs on your grass or garden. This attracts unwanted guests like birds.
There are a variety of methods to kill grubs naturally and with chemicals. You can treat your lawn based on your preference. We hope you enjoyed reading this article, and hopefully, it helps you get rid of the grub population on your lawn!