Before getting into how to get rid of the grubs on your lawn, we should first look at what grubs are. Lawn grubs, often called white grubs, are squirmy larvae of different scarab beetles such as Japanese beetles, African black beetles, European chafers, or June bugs. These pests are dormant during the winter and become active during the spring and early summer, appearing as pale white worms with brown heads, soft bodies, and three pairs of legs. They usually curl into a C shape when they are disturbed.
How destructive are lawn grubs?
So how do these c-shaped pests damage lawns? While a small population of grubs is generally not an issue, a large population can cause significant damage to an entire garden or natural grass lawn. These pests burrow into the soil and feed on organic matter and the roots of your grass and other foliage. When the grass is damaged at the root level, it becomes challenging for your lawn to absorb water and the soil nutrients it needs to stay healthy. However, they are not harmful to people and pests.
Grubs can also destroy your lawn indirectly, as birds, raccoons, skunks, and other grub-eating rodents will dig through your lawn to get to the grubs.
What are the signs of lawn grubs?
The first step to treating your grub problem is identifying it. The first sign of lawn grub presence is irregular brown or yellow patches of lawn which come off easily when pulled, like a layer of the carpet. Here are even more signs of grub worms on your lawn.
- Increase in activity of other pest species: Birds, raccoons, moles, and skunks feed on grub worms, and they will tear up and dig through your lawn to get to them.
- A spongy turf: In some cases, your may notice your lawn feels spongy or springy when you walk on it. This is an early sign of a grub infestation.
- Increasing numbers of beetles: If you’ve noticed many beetles or moths flying around your lawn, it could be the females scouting the area for where to lay their eggs.
One way to be sure you are dealing with grubs is to see them with your own eyes. Conduct a simple test by digging up a damaged area of your lawn. The presence of a few grubs say less than five is normal, but a large number (over 10 worms) indicates that you have a full-blown infestation in your hands, and immediate action needs to be taken.
Ways to get rid of grub worms
Now that you are sure that grub worms are responsible for the brown patches on your lawn, it is time to take action. Chemical, as well as natural options, are available for killing grubs. However, the best period to apply these treatments is in late summer or fall as they are closer to the surface, unlike in winter, when they will be deeper in the ground.
- Introducing beneficial nematodes: These are microscopic parasitic roundworms that release bacteria that attack all sorts of garden pests, including grub worms, without harming earthworms, plants, or pets. Because nematodes are living creatures, you must keep them from direct sunlight and apply them to your lawn soon after purchasing them. Nematodes love moisture, so be sure to mix the nematodes with water and spray it onto the affected areas.
- Treat with milky spore: Milky spore is a microbial bacterium that infects only Japanese beetle grubs. Milky spore comes in powdered form. To apply, sprinkle powder batches in a four-square-foot grid of your lawn, which you should then water gently.
- Attract birds to your lawn: Since chickens and birds like crows feed on grubs, it is beneficial to attract them to your lawn. You can do this by adding bird feeders, birdbaths, and birdhouses around your yard.
- Apply grub control pesticide: Grub control insecticides that contain active ingredients such as bifenthrin, imidacloprid, trichlorfon, or carbaryl kill grubs upon contact. They come in granular or liquid form.
– For granular pesticides, apply them directly to your lawn and water them down afterward,
– For the liquid ones, mix according to the label instructions and spray on the soil until it is deeply saturated.