Until you see patches of bare grass in your lush, green lawn, grubs in the lawn may go unnoticed. The soil is home to plump, white grubs that feast on grass and plant roots. To keep lawn grass healthy and green, it is vital to get rid of white grubs in the garden. Thankfully, grubs may be prevented from wreaking havoc in your garden with the appropriate care.
Knowing how to find, where to look for, and exterminate white lawn grubs is critical if you want to get rid of them. Of course, preventing turf grubs from returning is also necessary to get rid of them for good in the soil. This article covers natural, non-toxic grub worm killers for getting rid of lawn grubs. You’ll discover how to disrupt the lifecycle of the tender, white worm-like creatures.
What are Lawn Grubs?
Lawn grubs are the larvae of various beetles, and they resemble little white worms. They are not true worms. The creamy-white, fat oval body and bronze-orange head of a lawn grub distinguish it. Lawn grubs are approximately 0.5 inch (1.2 cm) long and curl up in a C-shape.
Grass roots are the food of the wriggling grubs. Grubs are most often seen on grassland. Grass worms, turf grubs, and lawn grubs are all names for the same thing. Garden grubs are not actual worms, despite the fact that they are sometimes referred to as such.
What Do Grubs Turn Into?
White lawn grubs cause the most damage to scarab beetle larvae, such as Japanese beetle (left) and June beetles (right). The grubs that cause the most damage to lawns are generally found in three types of beetles in the Scarabaeidae family (scarab beetles). June beetles (Phyllophaga) and European chafer (Amphimallon majale) are among the Japanese beetle (Popillia japonica), June beetles. Plants may be damaged by scarab beetles, although grubs are the most harmful to lawns.
The white subterranean grubs emerge from the ground and resume their lifecycle as beetles. Scarab beetles devour plant leaves, flowers, and fruits as they run around gardens.
Lawn Grub Life Cycle
Depending on the species, the life cycle of lawn grubs ranges from one to three years. In the mid- to late-summer, larvae emerge from beetle eggs. During the winter, the hungry grubs dig deeper into the ground after munching through turfgrass roots.
Before becoming pupae and emerging as adult beetles, the white grubs resume feeding on roots in the spring. The lifespan of lawn grubs is rather lengthy. They are difficult to detect since they spend the majority of their lives in the soil. So, knowing the lawn grub life cycle is critical to eradicating the grubs in the soil before they do any harm. You can only observe evidence of grass worm activity if there are a lot of them.
What Do Grubs Eat?
Grubs in the lawn eat practically anything. In lawns, the larvae of the hungry beetles devour grass roots, giving your grass a bad appearance. Beetle grubs feed on the roots of any plant in soil. Grub worms devour the roots of young plants and seedlings, destroying them quickly.
Grub Worm Damage
If beetle grubs reside in garden soil, they may harm vegetables, fruits, and shrubs. They destroy the plant’s nutrient source by gorging on shrub, vegetable, and flower roots. The development of smaller plants or the death of them may be slowed by grub damage.
Large grub populations can also wilt and even die larger, mature plants. Secondary damage is caused by white garden grubs. Birds and animals drawn to a grub infestation ruin your garden. For example, raccoons, skunks, and a flock of birds might dig up the earth around your plants in search of some ‘grubs.’ Not only does this animal activity damage your garden’s appearance, but the pests may also harm vegetation and crops.
How to Tell If You Have Lawn Grubs (Sign of Grub Damage)
Bare patches of soil appearing on your lawn are a common indication of lawn grub damage. They appear as irregular patches of dead grass or bare soil. Yet, if you dig up a part of lawn to examine for C-shaped worm-like white insects wriggling in the dirt, you have the best method to determine if you have a grub issue.
When there are more than ten grubs per square foot (0.1 m²), it is a sure sign that the lawn has been damaged. Animals digging to find grass grubs may cause damage even if you have between six and nine grubs per square foot (0.1 m²).
The most typical symptom of a grub infestation is bare patches on lawns. The grass above the soil’s surface dies and does not grow back because the grubs eat turfgrass roots. Some gardeners believe that the lack of grass is due to fertilizer problems and apply more lawn fertilizer to the dead grass patches. Excessive amounts of fertilizer, on the other hand, may exacerbate the grub problem.
Nitrogen fertilizer (NF) treatment resulted in a significant decrease of predatory nematodes, according to a study that examined the effects of NF on soil nematode community. Beneficial nematodes are tiny parasitic worms that kill grubs, preventing the lawn from being destroyed.
Grubs in the garden might be indicated by patches of lawn that feel spongy to walk on. The soil of infested lawn patches loses its firmness due to the grubs’ destruction of lawn grass roots. If grubs have damaged the roots of the lawn, it will also peel away easily.
You might have grubs in the soil if you noticed an increase in animal activity on a patchy lawn. Lawns are ripped up by moles, skunks, raccoons, and other four-legged animals in search of food. The critters might be looking for worms or beneficial grubs, of course. As a result, before treating scarab beetle larvae, it’s best to check if you have a problem with them.
How to Prevent Grubs
Soil tilling, natural lawn fertilizer, and mowing grass less often are all methods of preventing grubs from becoming a problem. Here are several ways to keep white grubs at bay and preserve lawns and gardens.
Let Grass Grow Longer for Grub Prevention
Scarab beetles cannot lay their eggs in grass soil if you mow your grass less often. To prevent beetle eggs getting into the ground, keep grass 3″ (7.6 cm) or 4″ (10 cm) long. Beetles will look elsewhere to lay their eggs because the darker environment near the soil level seems inhospitable for them.
Use Natural Lawn Fertilizer to Prevent Grubs
White grub infestations are less common on healthy lawns. Thus, to keep your lawn healthy and lush, you should utilize natural lawn fertilizer. Excessive chemical fertilizers with a high nitrogen concentration, as previously indicated, diminish beneficial nematodes that kill white grubs and make lawn grub problems worse. Without evidence of grub damage, a healthy lawn can support up to five white grubs per square foot (0.1 m²).
Till the Soil to Prevent Grubs in the Garden
In the fall, tilling the land can help prevent grubs from destroying your plants or crops. It’s a good idea to eliminate old plants. Then work the soil down to a depth of 6″ or 7″ (15 cm). After that, till the ground surface is reached. To kill white grubs, pick them up with your hand and drop them in soapwater.
When to Apply Grub Worm Treatment
Late summer or early autumn is the best time to treat lawn grubs. The grubs are still tiny and closer to the soil’s surface at this moment, having recently emerged. Grubs in the earth are often bigger and more difficult to eliminate if you wait until spring to treat them.
How to Get Rid of Grubs (Natural Grub Killers)
Natural grub control techniques are the best way to eliminate grubs from a lawn and plants. Beneficial nematodes, neem oil, and milky spore are all grub killers that help to eliminate them in the soil. Moreover, these natural grub management techniques do not affect your garden’s biodiversity or ecosystem.
The best way to get rid of white grubs in your lawn is through an integrated pest management (IPM) strategy. To avoid beetles from laying eggs and killing grubs when they emerge, IPM employs a variety of grub control strategies. Of course, grub control chemicals may be used.
Pesticides and insecticides may kill grub worms fast, but they may also harm beneficial insects in the process. Many individuals are also concerned about applying potentially hazardous materials on lawns where children and pets play.
You may not need to kill any grubs if you find them in your lawn. A healthy lawn may typically accommodate up to five white grubs per square foot (0.1 m²). You could let them be if there are fewer than five. If lawn grubs are ruining your lush, green grass, let’s take a look at three natural ways to get rid of them.
Beneficial Nematodes Kill Grubs in Lawns
Beneficial nematodes may be used to eliminate beetle grubs from lawns by spraying them on the grass. White grubs are infected by nematodes, little parasitic worms. The grass-destroying grubs are then infected and killed by the bacteria released by them.
Other animals, beneficial insects, and earthworms are unaffected by using nematodes to control grubs. Spraying lawns with beneficial nematodes, according to scientific research, may help reduce grub numbers. According to one research, treating the soil with Steinernema carpocapsae and Heterorhabditis indica exterminated up to 80 percent of scarab grub populations.
It is critical to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using nematodes as a white grub killer. You should use nematodes right away after purchasing them because they are living organisms. Using a watering can or hose-end applicator, mix the powdery solution in water and apply it to your lawn. When the soil is at least 50°F (10°C), it’s a good idea to apply nematodes to lawns. In the fall and late spring, apply the nematodes.
Kill Lawn Grubs with Milky Spore Powder/Granules
Lawn grubs may be killed without harming other insects using milk spore, an environmentally friendly technique. White grubs eat turfgrass roots, thus milky spore is a bacterial illness that affects them. Scarab beetle larvae are killed by this biological grub control, which prevents them from causing any more harm to your lawn. Milky spore has the ability to stay in the soil for a long period, effectively destroying any grubs that may be present. In the 1940s, Japanese beetle larvae were effectively killed using Milky spore (Bacillus popilliae).
According to one research, milky spore disease-treated soil had fewer grubs 30 years later than untreated soil. The bacterial illness also leaves earthworms alone, since it only affects Japanese beetle grubs. To keep lawns free from grass grubs, Milky spore is simple to apply. In a grid pattern, disperse a teaspoon of milky spore powder 3 to 4 feet (1 meter) apart. To water the powder, use a gentle spray from a hose. For a 15-minute period, there was no water. To keep kill grubs from chewing on your lawn, all you have to do is apply once.
Use Neem Oil to Eradicate Grubs from Lawns
Lawn grubs are stopped from feeding and eventually killed by neem oil, which is a natural pesticide. Eggs cannot hatch and larvae growth is inhibited by using a neem oil solution. To prevent Japanese beetles from destroying leaves, you can also use neem oil on the foliage.
Neem oil was found to be effective as a natural grub killer in a field study. Turfgrass was treated with sprays containing neem oil. The natural insecticide Azadriachtin, according to the study, kills Japanese beetle larvae in their early instars and causes molting problems in neem oil.
Apply the neem oil solution in late summer or early fall when the grubs are young to kill white lawn grubs using it as a biological control. Mix 2 tbsp of neem oil for every gallon (4.5 l) of water to treat lawns for beetle grubs. thoroughly water your lawn with a watering can or hose spray applicator.
To exterminate all grubs, make sure you cover the whole lawn. Use it every seven days until you no longer see evidence of lawn grubs.
How to Treat Grub Damage
After removing grub damage from your lawn, it’s critical to get your grass back to its former healthy, green state. In the fall or early spring, repair grub damage for optimum results. The lawn has a better chance of recovering and becoming healthy if you treat the grub damage now.
The first step is to rake away decayed grass and thatch to eliminate grub damage. Next, create tiny holes in the lawn with a lawn aerator. Nutrient uptake to the roots, preventing compacting, and producing a healthy lawn are all benefits of this activity. Then, grass seed should be used to reseed the lawn’s bare patches.
After repairing grub damage, thoroughly water the lawn after reseeding. Lawn grub control, natural lawn fertilization, and frequent mowing will keep your grass in top condition free of white grubs.