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Worried About Lawn Grubs? How to Identify, Treat, and Prevent Lawn Grubs

Three white lawn grubs in brown soil.

Summer is finally here! That means spending more time enjoying your outdoor spaces with family and friends. It is also the perfect time to make sure your lawn is healthy and pest-free. That includes taking care of any necessary lawn grub treatment.

One of the most common threats to a healthy lawn are lawn grubs. Lawn grubs are beetle larva, and there are several types that pose a threat to your lawn. The classic lawn grub looks like a half-inch long white worm, curled into a c-shape. While you may not see the grubs themselves, you will be able to see any damage they cause.

Do not panic if you think you have lawn grubs! Lawn grub control can be simple and very effective.

In this article we will walk you through how to identify a grub problem, effective lawn grub treatment, and strategies to prevent lawn grubs in the future.

How to Check for Grubs in Your Lawn:  

There are a few visible signs of grubs in your lawn to keep an eye out for, including texture changes and animal activity.

The most obvious sign of grubs is irregular brown patches. While brown spots can also be caused by wilting and dry weather, the spots caused by grubs would likely stand out in an otherwise healthy lawn.

You can also look for spots that are spongy or squishy, especially after being watered. This is caused by grubs eating away at the roots.

Another telltale sign of grubs is an increase in animal activity. If you notice animals like racoons, skunks, and birds are scratching and digging up your lawn it may indicate that there is an infestation in that area.

After you’ve identified sections that could have grubs the next step is to get your hands dirty. Dig up a small section about two inches deep and examine it for grubs. They are small, white, c-shaped insects. If you find more than five or so within a square foot, you may have a grub infestation.

When to Treat for Lawn Grubs:

Now that you have identified problem you are probably wondering how to go about lawn grub treatment. The first thing to be aware of is the importance of timing. You should treat your lawn according to the grub’s lifecycle for the best results.

The best time to treat for existing grubs is in mid- to late summer. Grubs hatch in the spring or early summer and enter peak feeding season from June to August. Peak feeding season is when insecticides will be most effective.

Once fall comes around these treatments will not be effective, so you’ll need to focus instead on prevention (which we dig into below).

Lawn Grub Treatment Strategies:

First you should keep in mind that a small number of grubs are not necessarily a problem for your lawn. If your lawn is not showing damage and you found fewer than five grubs per square foot it may be healthier to avoid aggressive treatments.

There are two common routes when treating for grubs: natural treatments and chemical treatments. Natural treatments can help protect other insects in the soil, while chemical treatments are more effective but can be harsh for the lawn.

Popular natural treatments for lawn grubs:

  • Milky spore: Bacterium that is applied to the lawn in order to make grubs sick. Milky spore requires persistent application and a few years to eliminate grubs.
  • Nematodes: Microscopic worms that release bacteria that make grubs sick. Nematodes are more effective with long-term treatment, often requiring up to three years fully take effect.
  • Attract Birds: While this option will be best for small grub treatment, many find that placing bird houses strategically can reduce their grub populations.

Chemical treatments are a quicker option for tackling an existing infestation. Common active ingredients are chlorantraniliprole and trichlorfon, both of which are effective insecticides and will kill the grubs when eaten.

Your method for applying chemical treatments is very important. Insecticides can also harm other wildlife including butterflies, bees, and insects that help keep your lawn healthy.

Safety is critical when using chemical treatments. Always keep the following in mind:

  • Always wear rubber gloves and boots when handling insecticides.
  • Mow the lawn before application to remove flowers and protect bees.
  • Soak the lawn after application to make sure the product is absorbed and to protect your family and the environment.
  • Store chemicals in a locked cabinet at is not accessible to children or pets.
  • Fertilize your lawn to help it recover from the chemical treatments and develop a care-plan for all seasons.

How to Prevent Lawn Grubs:

The best cure is prevention, and this is especially true in the case of lawn grubs. Preventative treatments are best applied in the spring or early summer before egg laying occurs. Ideally prevention will start in June or early July.

Once you have applied a preventative product you will need to maintain your grub control routine. A preventative product should be effective for about four months.

In this time carefully monitor your lawn and make sure it stays healthy. Re-seeding patches that have been harmed by grubs in the past will also help to make sure your lawn stays resilient.

A Holistic Solution Lawn Grub Treatment:

The most effective way to treat lawn grubs is with an active, year-round plan tailored to your specific needs. Grub control requires carefully timed prevention, treatment, and regular monitoring.

A professional landscaping company will not only have the experience necessary to design a plan that will tackle lawn grubs effectively, they will also have access to state-of-the-art equipment and products.

For more information on pest control and lawn care contact All Green Pest Control & Lawn Care today!