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How Do I Treat Grubs on My Lawn?

Posted on October 27th, 2022

How Do I Treat Grubs on My Lawn? Depending on your preference, you can choose between natural and chemical options to treat the grubs in your lawn. While small quantities of grubs are normal, swarms of an infestation can cause significant harm to your lawn if left untreated.

Grubs devour the roots of grass, other vegetation, and decaying organic matter found on your lawn, leaving homeowners with brown, patchy grass. On top of being unsightly, grubs attract other pests that scavenge for grubs, further damaging your lawn and adding to your expenses.

Fortunately, with proper grub control for lawns, you can say goodbye to grub infestation. In this blog, we will guide you on how to get rid of grubs and check the presence and level of infestation in your lawn.

How Do I Know if I have Grubs on My Lawn?

Grubs are the wriggly, worm-ish larvae of various beetle species, such as June Bugs and Japanese Beetles. These parasites are about one inch long and hatch in the summer and spring. 

Grub damage can be difficult to distinguish since it resembles several types of damage, such as drought. You may, however, halt grub damage by keeping watch for these indicators.

  • Your grass is turning yellow. Yellowed grass blades are a common indicator of root rot caused by grubs. Turfgrass becomes spongy and yellow as grubs eat away at the roots.
  • There are additional pest species present. In their quest for grubs, skunks, raccoons, and other burrowing pests will wreak havoc on your lawn. This further damage can be as expensive and challenging to repair as grub infestation.
  • There is an increasing number of moths or beetles. You might have a significant grub problem if you’ve seen a lot of moths or beetles flying about at grass level.
  • Your lawn appears drought-stricken. Despite routine watering, grubs may be the cause of your yard’s parched appearance. While grub damage frequently resembles drought, additional watering won’t make it go away.
  • Unsightly brown and patchy grass. Unevenly shaped dead patches of grass are one warning sign of grubs. This symptom can appear in random areas on your lawn.
  • Your grass pulls up easily. The grass effortlessly pulls up when your yard is overrun with grubs because your grass has root rot.
  • There are apparent white grubs present. While this may seem like there is no grub infestation, not many homeowners know how to check accurately.

Testing Your Lawn For Grub Infestation

Infection, drought strain, prickly chinch bugs, webworm moths, shading, compression, and other factors can all contribute to lawn problems that resemble grub damage. For instance, many homeowners assume grub infestation in the early spring because of how their grass looks after the snow melts.

Only by inspecting your grass for grubs can you be sure you have an infestation.

  • Cut a one-foot portion of your lawn where you think grub activity is present using a shovel or a lawn edger.
  • From that cut, remove a one-square-foot portion of grass and soil. The grass should peel up quickly if there has been extensive grub damage.
  • Count the grubs you find while digging around in the soil. It’s typical and shouldn’t be alarming to find a few grubs.
  • To prevent harm to the lawn, quickly replace any grass you’ve trimmed.

You want to look for grubs in different areas across your lawn, but concentrate your scouting efforts on parts that have signs of grub feeding. 

Levels of Grub Infestation

The presence or absence of several grubs in a specific square foot does not necessarily indicate that the entire lawn is infested or that you should be concerned. Take note of areas that have high counts of grubs and which do not. This is essential when you begin grub control for your lawn.

  • Mild (Five or lesser grubs) – This is normal and does not require treatment.
  • Moderate (Six to 10 grubs) – Treatment is necessary if only your lawn is unhealthy.
  • Severe (More than 10 grubs) – A severe infestation requires immediate treatment.

How To Get Rid Of Grubs On My Lawn

As mentioned, you have different options for grub control for your lawn. Let’s start with the natural treatment options below.

Natural Options:

1. Add natural predators so they can feed on the grubs.

Fortunately, grubs have many natural predators. Others won’t drastically harm your lawn, but predators like raccoons and moles will. For instance, robins, blue jays, and chickadees all relish grubs and will feed on them all day. Additionally, chickens in the backyard can also graze your lawn and gather grubs.

Make your yard as inviting for the winged visitors as you can by using birds as a natural grub control method. Around your yard, install birdhouses, birdbaths, and feeders. This will draw advantageous bird species and aid in controlling the grub population in your yard.

2. Limit the moisture in your lawn.

Grubs require moisture to live and grow. Therefore, faking a drought is a simple technique to reduce the grub population.

For a few weeks, stop watering your lawn if it can go dormant and come back once you resume watering it. Drying out your lawn will decrease the number of grubs by killing eggs and young grubs.

3. Apply milky spore.

Milky spore is a great natural, non-toxic alternative for controlling white grub infestation. This powdery substance targets Japanese beetle larvae. 

You can get milky spores at your local garden store and spread them throughout your yard using a spore powder dispenser. However, you’ll need to apply milky spore several times annually for roughly two-three years to achieve the optimum benefits. While you may think that a two-year treatment is a long time, a milky spore should function as a biocontrol agent for 15-20 years once the treatment course is finished.

Since milky spore is extremely sensitive, pay close attention to environmental factors, including temperature, dampness, soil composition, pH, and soil type, if you want a successful treatment.

4. Use azadirachtin. 

If you choose this treatment, you should go for concentrated azadirachtin. With azadirachtin application, one study found that Japanese beetles were eliminated on a lawn with Kentucky bluegrass at a rate five times higher than the product’s label. 

Although azadirachtin is proven effective at killing Japanese beetles at the larvae phase, it does not affect mature beetles or their ability to lay eggs. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates azadirachtin as “generally non-toxic,” which indicates it has low toxicity for predators, parasitoids, and other biocontrol agents.

5. Use neem oil.

Many people mistakenly believe that neem oil and azadirachtin are equivalent. However, while neem oil contains the ingredient azadirachtin, it contains only a little bit of the chemical compound azadirachtin.

Neem oil prevents grubs from feeding, developing, and producing eggs. It’s best to dilute neem oil with water before spraying on the affected regions for maximum results unless stated on the label instructions. This treatment option requires regular reapplication.

6. Introduce beneficial nematodes.

Nematodes are microscopic parasitic worms that target and eliminate grubs and other lawn pests. Often used with milky spore disease, nematodes are a non-toxic, pet-friendly grub control method that can be found at your local garden store.

Apply the nematodes to your yard immediately after buying them, strictly adhering to the application directions on the package. Refrain from placing them in direct sunlight, which can reduce their effectiveness, and apply them on an overcast day,  early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Nematodes may have to be applied every two weeks or until the infestation goes away.

To establish the grub-controlling nematodes after the initial application, you’ll probably need to introduce a new batch of nematodes once or twice a year for roughly three years.

7. Experiment with borax.

Borax is a regular household cleaning chemical used to get rid of grubs. However, note that borax contains boron, which accumulates in the soil and can harm your grass in high amounts.

Taking that into account, if you decide to use this technique, do so sparingly. A spoonful of borax should be diluted and added to a spray bottle of warm water. Then, liberally spray the borax solution on the areas affected by grubs.

8. Aerate and dethatch your lawn.

Thatch is a covering of living and decaying organic matter, such as roots, rhizomes, stolons, and crowns, that builds up around the bases of grass plants.

By eliminating thatch and aerating the lawn, you can make the environment less inviting for the grubs since thatch and tight, compacted soil give grubs a thick layer of cover. These techniques also facilitate the penetration of the lawn’s surface by nematodes, milky spore disease, and other natural pesticides, eliminating grubs more quickly and effectively

Chemical options for grubs on my lawn:

Your grass grubs will be eliminated by chemical management. However, utilizing these treatments can also cause the death of other beneficial insects. Chemical treatments come in two varieties.

Trichlorfon and Carbaryl are the two main herbicides used to decrease grass grub populations. Both are often regarded as the only possibilities when there are high grub concentrations in the fall or early spring. Both are considered powerful grub killers.

According to research, these chemicals will kill between 20 and 80 percent of grubs when used in September and between 20 and 55 percent when used in late October.

9. Carbaryl

Carbaryl is a short-lived carbamate chemical proven effective in eliminating grubs. According to recent studies, Carbaryl may be slightly more successful than trichlorfon at eliminating specific grub species, such as the European chafer grub.

In just 10 to 14 days after application, you’ll notice this compound will have already killed grubs. Unfortunately, with its potency, other research indicates that Carbaryl is poisonous to bees. Only reputable lawn grub control experts should employ this treatment.

10. Trichlorfon

Trichlorfon is an organophosphate that begins to eliminate grubs in one to three days. The chemical disintegrates after seven – 10 days. Trichlorfon, like Carbaryl, works best when applied in the early spring or late fall.

Both trichlorfon and Carbaryl are used to diminish grub infestations. When paired with other preventative measures, they function optimally.

When used in June or July and watered with at least 0.5″ of irrigation right away after treatment, products containing imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, or clothianidin, for instance, will remove 75-100 percent of lawn grubs.

Trichlorfon and Carbaryl will aid in limiting the impact of grub populations in the future. These are offered under the names Mach 2™ and Merit™.

Grub Control: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)

Since any infestation can be complex for many homeowners, here’s a quick yet helpful information guide on how to get rid of grubs.

When is the best time to treat grubs?

Between the onset of spring and late summer or when your lawn exhibits indications of heightened grub activity, grub control treatment should be done. However, before the grubs spawn, you should practice grub preventive measures between June and July.

Will the grass on my lawn grow back after grub treatment?

With proper maintenance and checks, you can prevent grubs from growing back on your lawn after treatment. You will need to reseed the patchy grass area to encourage new growth. Pets and children should stay off your lawn until the grass is 2-3″ tall. We also advise lightly watering and overseeding it with a high-quality turfgrass blend.

Will grubs naturally die or vanish in the winter?

Unfortunately, no. Late in the summer, grubs hatch and start to eat. They burrow deeper into the ground and deposit eggs that develop into grubs in the mid-fall, withstanding the chilly winter months.

How do experts handle grub infestation?

First, we will do a thorough inspection of your lawn. We’ll then decide on a treatment plan once we’ve established the level of infestation. Follow-up treatments to eliminate grubs at various stages of their life cycles may be required. Finally, we would advise yearly touch-ups.


Grubs can wreak havoc on your lawn. Thankfully, you don’t have to endure dead, brown, and patchy areas for long with Turf Unlimited. Our lawn grub control experts at Turf Unlimited are skilled at eliminating grubs with special care.

Our infestation prevention services are the following:

  • Grub prevention. This treatment is guaranteed for a year, and we will repair any damage free of charge.
  • Surface insect preventative. A defense against lawn-damaging pests, including billbugs, sod webworms, and chinch bugs.
  • Grassy weed treatment. Grassy weeds are not only but also detrimental to your lawn’s health.
  • Core aeration. Plugs of soil are taken out during this procedure to make your lawn less appealing to pests.

Call Turf Unlimited at (888) 649-9919 and say goodbye to grubs today! Or if you are looking for pest control in your yard call Pest Control Unlimited now. 

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