How Bad Are Grubs For The Lawn
Grubs, which are the larval, or immature, stage of several species of beetles and chafers, can damage a lawn by feeding on the roots of your grass. Healthier grass can tolerate more grub feeding, and all grass can tolerate some grub feeding.
A grub infestation will cause patches of thinning turf, and these patches will gradually increase in size. Often times grub damaged grass will pull out very easily at the roots.
What we often hear from homeowners is that they believe they have grubs because animals like moles, skunks, crows and racoons are digging in the lawn. This isnt a reliable clue, however, because grub infestations arent always accompanied by animal damage and animal damage doesnt always result from a grub infestation. These animals feed on other insects in the lawn, like earthworms, which are beneficial to the health of the lawn. That all said, if you do have grubs and animals are digging for them in the lawn, that can be detrimental to the health of your turf and to the appearance of your yard.
Signs Of Grubs In A Lawn
Thinning grass and patches of dead grass, especially in lawns that are fertilized and well-watered, are some of the first indications of a grub infestation. The patches get bigger over time. If your lawn is infested with grubs, the grass will also be fairly easy to yank out of the soil with a few tugs. Turfgrass weakened by grubs is also more susceptible to drought damage and weeds.
To determine if grubs are behind the demise of your lawn, grab a shovel and peel back a chunk of grass that is 12 inches wide and 12 inches long. Count how many grubs you see. As a general rule, chemical or biological treatment for grubs is only necessary if you count 10 grubs or more per square foot of lawn, according to the Missouri Botanical Garden. Be sure to replace the grass you removed, says the University of New Hampshire Extension.
What Do Grubs Look Like
You likely wont see grubs unless you go digging since they live beneath the surface. They are the larvae of Japanese beetles and are white in color with brown heads. Up to one inch in length, they look a bit like caterpillars. Their parents, the adult beetles, deposit their eggs beneath the surface of the soil so when they hatch and turn into grubs, they can use the roots of your turfgrass as food. When these grubs reach adulthood, they no longer look like caterpillars and instead look like beetles with metallic green heads and bodies. The adult beetles will dine on the grass above the surface while their larvae destroy it from below, which is why being proactive and calling your pest control service is so important.
Grubs and their adult parents create a two-front battleground for your grass, and if you dont do something about it, you could have extensive lawn damage. Unfortunately, many homeowners dont realize that the garden-variety beetles they see are actually producing the dreaded lawn grubs. Our experts will help you identify if youve got a grub problem on your hands.
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Are There Moths Or Beetles Flying Around Grass Level
Have you noticed beetles hanging out on your lawn? White grubs are actually the larval stage of beetles. Although several species of beetles may hover over your yard, the harmful larval grubs that eat your grass do mature into beetles.
These mature grubs/beetles will then fly over your lawn, searching for a place to lay their eggs and continue the cycle of egg to grub to beetle.
So, although seeing beetles is not a sure-fire sign that you have a grub problem in your lawn, it could indicate that one is imminent. These beetles search for healthy lawns to lay their eggs to ensure their babies will have food. Then down the line, those babies grow into the larval grubs that destroy lawns.
If you notice beetles or moths flying around, keep an eye out for further signs that grubs may be attacking your grass. Or you can contact a local pest control company to inspect and treat your lawn before any potential grub problem gets out of hand.
Soapy Water Lawn Grubs
You can eliminate lawn grubs efficiently with the help of soapy water. Dawn dish soap is popularly used to eliminate grubs on the lawn.
Here are instructions on how to make the solution.
- Add 3 teaspoons of liquid soap to a gallon of water. Stir thoroughly to make a fine mixture.
- Spray this solution on the patches where the grass turned brown. Check to see if you eliminated them successfully.
- If they persist, treat the brown patches once more.
This works best when theres a small infestation in parts of the lawn. If grubs are devouring a large part of your lawn, this method might not be as efficient.
Tip: Add some lemon and mouthwash to make the solution more efficient.
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When Is The Best Time To Treat For Grubs
There are two times to treat for grubs. There is usually a short window in early spring before the grubs get too big and pupate, but it is a narrow window and can be difficult to time properly. The best time to treat is at the end of July to the beginning of August. This is the time of year that the grubs emerge from their eggs and burrow up into the top layer of soil where they eat the roots of the grass. They are easiest to kill in this early stage of development because they are young and near the top of the soil. If you wait too long, in early fall they burrow four to eight inches into the soil to get away from the cold and the treatment cant reach them. They will return older and hardier in the spring and will cause more damage then. You want to get your grub treatment down by the end of July or early August to be the most effective.
How To Detect Grub Worms
Knowing how to detect grub worms is key to treating them. Visible lawn grub damage can be seen from late summer to early fall. Look for irregular brown patches of lawn that peel away easily from the soil, like carpet. To determine the extent of infestation or which areas require treatment, dig up small sections of lawn. Typically, more than five grub worms per ¼ square foot warrants treatment and lawn grub control.
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Prevention Is The Best Solution
Grubs will often target the healthiest looking lawn on the street as their next tasty meal. When lawns get attacked by grubs, they often will have already created extensive damage. Following an attack, the lawn can take a few weeks or a few months to fully repair itself. Instead of going through the long process of nursing your lawn back to health, prevention is a far better solution.
Prevention & Maintenance Tips
Applying a preventative grub control product in the spring or early summer will provide much better grub control than waiting until after the damage has occurred. Use a spreader to apply Scotts® GrubEx®1. Be sure to follow application directions. To activate the product, water immediately after applying. A drought-stressed, underfed lawn will show grub damage faster, and with fewer grubs per square foot, than a properly-fed, well-maintained lawn. A properly maintained lawn can tolerate more grubs per square foot than a stressed lawn. Repair dead patches caused by grubs with Scotts® EZ Seed®.
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How Do You Know Grubs Are Causing Damage To Your Lawn
There are several indications that the brown patch in your lawn is caused by grubs:
- grub-loving birds and animals, including raccoons, skunks, and moles, are digging up your lawn and,
- areas of the lawn feel squishy, like freshly laid sod, caused by grubs are eating away at the roots.
To determine if its really a grub problem and not a lawn disease, remove a one-square-foot patch of the damaged lawn to a depth of about 2, as well as a few areas of the lawn that are green and healthy. If you only see a few grubs, it may not be necessary to treat, especially if the turf is healthy. If you find six or more in a square foot, its probably time for insecticide treatment.
Are Animals Hanging Out And Feeding In Your Grass
Have you noticed an increase in animal activity in your yard? This could be a sign that animals are attracted to a grub population growing in your yard. Animals such as raccoons, birds, skunks, and armadillos may be spending extra time in your yard to feed on grub worms.
Not only is this a problem because it may indicate a grub issue, but these visiting animals will cause problems of their own. Your turf may take a hard hit as these animals dig and toss dirt to hunt for grubs. You may even notice molehills or tunnels.
Keep an eye on the activity going on in your yard. If these animals and grubs are giving you trouble, it may be time to call a lawn care and pest control company.
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How To Detect And Treat Common Lawn Pests
When it’s thick, healthy and emerald green, your lawn is one of the most inviting parts of your home landscape. But when your turf is brown and sickly due to pest invasion, it quickly loses its appeal. Learning about the various pests that threaten your grass and then arming yourself with an effective treatment plan will help ensure your lawn stays healthy and beautiful.
The Importance Of Grub Control
They sneak under your lawns roots and look innocent enough, but if left untreated, they have the ability to destroy your lawn. Can you guess what were talking about? Grubs, one of the worst lawn pests out there! If you suspect you have lawn grubs, dont worry. We have tips for identifying and treating grubs, along with making sure they stay away for good.
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Lawn Grubs Life Cycle
While there are variations depending on which species of beetle they come from, the larvae tend to be stout, white-to-grayish with brown heads, about 3/4 of an inch to 2 inches in length. These lawn pests tend to curl up in a C shape at rest.
The grubs get their start when the adult beetles lay eggs in your turf, usually in spring. After the eggs hatch, the grubs evolve in three stages, with grub damage greatest in late summer, when you will see areas of your lawn thinning and yellowing. Later, irregular brown patches appear in your turf.
There are two major white grub species that cause problems in Ohio. Thats the Japanese beetle and the masked chafer, said Shetlar about his home turf.
Japanese beetle grubs are widespread invasive insects, and their white grub larvae are bound to be found in lawns all over the country too, not just Ohio. Other chafer species besides the masked chafer beetles also lead to white grub infestations and can establish in lawns beyond the states borders.
Other types of common lawn grubs around the United States include the larvae of the May and June beetles, green June beetle and the black turfgrass ataenius.
Its irrelevant which species it is, advised Shetlar. They cause the same kind of damage.
Lawn Grubs: How And When To Kill Them
* Editorial Note: LawnStarter may receive a commission if you purchase certain products mentioned in this article.
Is there anything more damaging than grubs in your lawn?
Few admire their looks. But, before dismissing them as nothing but gross menaces, grubs the larval stage of certain adult beetles are common in lawns and do play a role in the natural order of things .
David Shetlar is a professor emeritus with a doctoral degree in entomology at The Ohio State University. Hes also co-author of the comprehensive guide Garden Insects of North America, plus other pest management tomes including Managing Turfgrass Pests.
Shetlar chuckled brightly when asked if lawn grubs, commonly called white grubs, play a positive part in a lawns ecosystem. Everybody says grubs eat the grass roots, he said, but theres more to them than that. White grubs are eating the accumulated thatch and organic matter thats in the top inch of the soil profile.
Theyre sort of natures de-thatchers, he added. But the problem is, theyre eating that thatch, they do eat the roots and the crowns , which kills the plant.
Its when these de-thatcher populations grow out of control that the dreaded lawn damage takes place.
Short on time and just want to kill some grubs? Here are our picks for the best grub killers.
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How Do I Know If My Lawn Has Grubs
If you think your lawn may already have grubs, it is best to do a quick lawn grub test. To do this, mix a bucket of soapy water and pour it over the edge of an affected area. Keep an eye on it and after about 10 minutes or so, usually if there are grubs there, they will come to the surface. This is best done at dawn or dusk when grubs are most active.
Will Controlling Grubs In My Lawn Help Control The Garden Beetles That Eat My Plants
Not necessarily, because the adult stage of grubs are flying beetles that can travel to your garden from outside your property. Learn more about these beetles.
Disclaimer: The use of specific brand or trade names in this article is for educational purposes only. The University of New Hampshire does not support the use of one product over others of similar composition, nor does it guarantee the efficacy or quality of any product. The user is responsible for applying pesticides only as directed on the label and in compliance with the law. Product availability is subject to change depending on registration status in the State of New Hampshire and other factors.
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How To Know If You Have Grubs Eating Your Grass
Grubs the larvae of beetles and chafers are lawn pests that feed on the roots of turfgrass and can weaken a lawn over time. Japanese beetles and European chafers are the most common species involved. Because grubs live deep in the soil, they are usually not visible. The condition of the lawn usually offers the first clues to their presence.
Why Do I Have Lawn Grubs
There is no specific cause of a lawn grub worm infestation, other than the reason that a species of the scarab beetle has laid its eggs in your lawn.
Unfortunately, beetles are more attracted to healthier lawns, as these are more fertile and filled with nutrients.
However, it is a good idea to keep an eye on neighbouring lawns. If a neighbour has a grub problem, its likely the beetles will fly over to your lawn too.
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How Do I Prevent Grubs In My Lawn
I always advise people to take preventative measures rather than treating them later. Below are some means to prevent grubs in the lawn.
- Use beneficial nematodes along with Milky spore disease. This process may take a year or two but prevents further infections.
- Do not use artificial fertilizers to feed your lawn as it kills the beneficial nematodes. Use only organic fertilizer.
A Summary For Successful Grub Control
- Check the bag or bottle to determine what active ingredient the product contains.
- Do not use products containing ONLY lambda-cyhalothrin, gamma-cyhalothrin, bifenthrin, deltamethrin, cyfluthrin or permethrin for any phase of grub control.
- Do not use preventive compounds such as clothianidin, thiamethoxam or imidacloprid now. Use them in June or July to control grubs that would be damaging turf in the fall. Applying them now will allow some of the chemical to leach through the turf or break down to the point that not enough insecticide will be there in July to control grubs.
- The preventive compound chlorantraniliprole should ideally be applied in April or May to control grubs that would be damaging turf in the fall as it will take longer for the material to move to where the grubs will be feeding in July.
- To kill grubs in the spring or fall, use carbaryl or trichlorfon.
- Always wear rubber gloves and rubber boots when applying insecticides to turfgrass.
- Make sure to irrigate the lawn with at least 0.5 inches of water* and allow the grass to dry before allowing anyone or pets into the treated area. Irrigation is essential for the chemical to be most effective.
- Store insecticide products in a locked cabinet not accessible to children.
- Proper fertilization is important to prevent and allow the lawn to recover from grub damage.
- Mow lawns immediately before applying an insecticide for grubs to remove weed flowers and protect bees.
- Apply in spring or fall to active grubs.
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Related Guide For How Do You Know If You Have Grubs In Your Lawn
How did my lawn get grubs?
The grubs get their start when the adult beetles lay eggs in your turf, usually in spring. After the eggs hatch, the grubs evolve in three stages, with grub damage greatest in late summer, when you will see areas of your lawn thinning and yellowing. Some of it manifests as dry and deadened looking patches in your lawn.
Why do I have grubs in my yard?
Grubs can be found within your lawn during the late summer months after the beetles have laid their eggs around July. Female beetles lay their eggs about one or two inches deep in the soil. By devouring the grass roots, they begin to kill off patches of your lawn, leaving it brown in certain areas.
How often should you spray for lawn grubs?
Treating tips when spraying for lawn grubs:
Always spray in the late afternoon/evenings Spray a second time 7-10 days later to break the lifecycle. Don’t spray if rain is likely as you will only need to reapply.
What are the blackbirds eating in my lawn?
Does grub need prevention?
Grub control measures need to be taken on annual basis to work consistently. Skipping a year may be fine, but if any beetles have laid their eggs in your lawn’s soil over the course of that last year, you can be looking at a seriously damaged lawn by mid-fall.