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How To Get Rid Of Lawn Grubs

Hanna KielarJuly 03, 2019

If you’ve seen suspicious animal activity in your yard or noticed your lawn has become patchy and dry and you’re able to pull it back like the corner of a carpet, you might have a grub infestation.

Lawn grubs – often called white grubs – are small, C-shaped larvae of various beetles such as the Japanese beetle and June beetle. They feed on the grass roots of your lawn, causing the grass to shrivel and die.

If you think your lawn might have a creepy-crawly problem, it’s time to say grubs be gone! Here is everything you need to know about getting rid of your grubs.

The Life Cycle Of A Grub

Once grubs gather in your yard, it can be hard to end their growth pattern. However, understanding the life cycle of a grub can help you determine the best time to remove the infestation.

In early summer, adult beetles begin feeding on plants in the garden before they lay their eggs in the soil. In the later summer months, the grubs hatch and begin to feed on the soil. The grubs remain there until midfall when they move deep into the soil to protect themselves from the cold winter weather. In the spring, the large grubs return to the topsoil, where they mature into adults and repeat the process.

Checking For Grubs

If you think you have a grub infestation, examine your lawn by peeling back a square foot of green grass in multiple places throughout your yard. Don’t worry if you only see a few grubs, but if you notice six or more in each section, you have a problem.

Here are other signs that you may have grubs:

  • Raccoons, skunks, armadillos and birds are tearing up your yard to get to and eat the grubs.
  • Your lawn feels spongy – this will happen before the dead patches of your lawn appear.
  • Brown, dead patches of your yard are peeling back like carpet and aren’t turning green.

When To Treat For Grubs

When planning to remove grubs from your lawn, timing is key – you’ll want to catch them before they can cause damage to your lawn. The best time to implement your grub control plan is before or while the grubs are hatching, generally that’s during mid-June and mid-August. Another good time to treat your yard is in early July amid peak beetle season. This will help prevent the beetles from laying their eggs in the first place, cutting off the problem at the source.

How To Treat Grubs Using Preventative Treatments

All you need to do is follow the three simple steps below to begin exterminating your grubs like a professional.

Step 1: Reduce The Number Of Adult Beetles

Controlling the adult beetle population in your yard will also help reduce the amount of grubs that hatch. Fewer adult beetles mean fewer larvae crawling around. The type of beetle you have infesting your lawn and the type of treatment you decide to use will determine how often you apply the product. Preventative treatments should be applied every 3 to 4 weeks during peak beetle season in early July.

Step 2: Treat The Grubs

When treating grubs, it’s important to choose the right preventive treatment. Some people prefer to use all-natural treatments while others will use anything that will just kill the grubs. We’ll talk later about the different types of treatments available on the market.

The preventive treatment should be applied before the grubs have hatched so that the grubs can be killed before wreaking any havoc. It’s crucial that the treatment is applied before any significant damage is done, or else it might be too late. Most grubs hatch in July and early August, so it’s best to begin treating them from mid-June to mid-July.

Step 3: Water The Lawn

One step that’s often overlooked is watering the lawn after applying the preventive treatment. Though this may not seem like a big deal, it can have a tremendous effect on the removal of a grub population. If the preventive treatment is thoroughly soaked into the soil with at least a 1/2 inch of water, the chemical will soak deeper into the ground and poison the roots that grubs feed on. It’ll also move the treatment off the grass and make the yard safe for children and pets.

Types Of Preventive Treatments

There are many different types of grub preventive treatments, but not all of them are effective. Here are the best ways to treat grubs using natural treatments and pesticides.

Natural Treatments

If you don’t want to use an insecticide to kill the grubs, nematodes are earth-friendly roundworms that kill soil-inhabiting insects. These nematodes come on a sponge and are invisible to the naked eye, but when you soak the sponge in water and put it in a sprayer to spray on your yard, they multiply and combat grubs.

But if the thought of bringing more bugs into your lawn is unsettling, consider using an organic fertilizer. One of the most effective organic fertilizers is Plant-tone. Another option that has been successful in keeping beetles from laying eggs and grubs from feeding is to spray neem oil mixed with water onto your yard.

Pesticides

If you want to take out your lawn’s grub population swiftly and completely, use a pesticide or insecticide. Commercial pesticides have active ingredients such as carbaryl, imidacloprid or halofenozide. They come in either liquid or granular form and are best for removing current grubs. Chlorantraniliprole is a chemical that works best to prevent grubs. Some of the most effective preventative products are Scotts GrubEx  and Bayer Advanced Season Long Grub Control Plus Turf Revitalizer. The best curative products are Bayer Advanced 24 Hour Grub Killer Plus and Sevin Lawn Insect Granules. Be sure to read and follow the directions on each of the products you use to get the best results.

Good luck with your removal process and get ready to say grubs be gone!

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    Hanna Kielar

    Hanna Kielar is an Associate Section Editor for Rocket Companies focused on personal finance, recruiting and personal loans. She has a B.A. in Professional Writing from Michigan State University.