Lawn Damage From Raccoons And Skunks: Get Rid Of The Grubs
Youve nurtured your lawn all summer long, and the effort shows. Its in glorious condition, so obviously now after all your hard work you can get lawn damage from skunks and raccoons. This is the time of year when skunks and raccoons are busy tearing up lawns looking for a grubs. The damage that they can cause to a lawn can be extensive as they search for a tasty meal. I am not sure how they know that grubs are present, but it may be that they can smell the grubs themselves or the fecal matter that they produce yum. To get rid of skunks and raccoons, you need to get rid of grubs.
How To Get Rid Of Lawn Grubs
If grubs have invaded your lawn, you have both all-natural options and chemical treatments to get rid of them. Well show you how.
Lawn grubs are pale white, squirmy larvae that can destroy your lawn from the ground up, munching on roots until your grass dies off. These pests are a natural part of the ecosystem, so if you just have a few, theres no need to worry. However, if youre finding a lot of grubs, you need to eliminate them immediately to avoid damage to your lawn.
How To Repair Your Damaged Turf
Pushing the pulled up turf back into place can be a lesson in futility as the raccoons or skunks will come back again and again until the food source is exhausted and your lawn damage is extensive. From my experience, they will keep returning for about a week or so. Once they are done digging, you can start the repair process. This generally means smoothing the area as best as possible and then overseeding. In the more northern areas where cool-season grasses are grown, overseeding can be done until about the second week of October. Keeping the area watered will also help the grass to regrow as well.
Applying an insect control to the areas where the digging is occurring can be done, but these products are not going to eliminate the grubs overnight. The grubs have to ingest the material in order to be controlled and it takes several days if not weeks for this to occur. The better choice is to repair the area this fall and make sure you apply a preventative grub control application next summer.
If youre fed up with lawn damage from skunks and raccoons, leave the lawn and pest care to the experts. Enter your zip code to find the Spring-Green closest to you.
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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.
Replace Your Lawn With Artificial Grass
Artificial grass is not a natural product, but it is worth adding to this list because it is an effective option that requires no toxic pesticides or repeated treatments. Replacing your natural grass lawn with synthetic turf is a sure way to keep a grub population from taking hold in your lawn and destroying it. Plus, you can enjoy a lush, green lawn throughout the year that looks, feels and functions like natural grass without grub problems or the mowing, watering, weeding, aerating, edging, fertilizing and other tasks that are required to maintain a healthy, natural lawn.
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When To Apply Grub Worm Treatment
Once lawn grubs have been detected and treatment is necessary, you need to know when to apply grub worm treatment. The best time for treating grub worms is in late summer or early fall while the grub worms are still small and close to the surface.
Grub worms are less susceptible to treatment in the spring, as they are too large and no longer feeding. For this reason, insecticides are less effective. Spring rains can also make this difficult, as applications may be washed away.
When choosing insecticides for lawn grubs, its important to consider the various types. For fall treatment, Dylox is the most effective and fast acting available. However, two products worth consideration for use early in the season, Merit and Mach-2, can be helpful for prevention. These target the pests before they lay their eggs, killing them and any hatchlings before an infestation occurs. Always read and follow instructions carefully when using these types of products.
Nematodes For Lawn Grub Control
Beneficial nematodes can be introduced into the affected lawns to control Grubs. These nematodes work efficiently.
The nematodes munch on the larval forms thus they also prevent future infestation to an extent. Ive tried this method of control and I can say it works.
You can buy such nematodes on amazon.
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Signs You Have Lawn Grubs
There are certain signs to watch for to know if youre faced with a grub problem. First of all, you may have noticed other wildlife being attracted to your lawn. This wildlife activity in your yard likely indicates you have a grub worm problem. Animals, such as raccoons, skunks and birds, enjoy grubs as a main part of their diet. If youre serving up an assortment of tasty lawn grubs, then these creatures are going to get digging which can also cause damage to your grass.
Secondly, you will notice dying patches of grass in your yard that are easy to pull up by hand. This is a clear indicator the roots of the grass have been destroyed as these patches are no longer thriving in the soil. You may have previously attributed dry, dying patches of grass to under-watering or environmental conditions. However, it is likely a grub problem, which is very common in North America.
Your natural inclination when you notice lawn damage caused by grubs might be to rip up the patches of grass that are browning and replace them with new lawn turf. This is, however, not the correct or sustainable solution. You can instead simply treat this area of lawn with a pest control treatment and begin your lawn care regime again. Once the grubs have been killed by the pest control solution, this will promote root growth in the grass, and it will begin to heal and regrow.
What Chemical Products Can I Use To Control Grubs In My Lawn
If you have a severe grub infestation and want to use a chemical product to control grubs, you have a number of widely available options.
From about late April into early June, you can effectively use a product with the active ingredient chlorantraniliprole to control all species of white grubs we have in New Hampshire. This chemical also controls caterpillars such as webworms and armyworms. This product is most effective when the grub is actively feeding so applying it 2 to 3 months in advance of severe grub feeding from June to August is recommended. This ingredient is in two widely available products: GrubEx® and Roundup® For Lawns Bug Destroyer. The U.S. EPA designates this chemical as a low risk pesticide due to its low toxicity to bees and other beneficial insects.
Some products registered for controlling grubs just have a pyrethroid, such as products with the active ingredient Gamma-Cyhalothrin, commonly found in the Spectracide® Triazicide® Insect Killer For Lawns. According to research from Michigan State University, products that only contain lambda-cyhalothrin, gamma-cyhalothrin, bifenthrin, deltamethrin, cyfluthrin or permethrin do not work for grub control.
In most cases, whether its early spring or fall, its preferable to simply wait until the next appropriate window for using a preventative product that gets better results and is more targeted. Learn more about current insecticide approaches for white grubs from UMass Extension.
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What Is The Best Time Of Year To Treat Soil With Beneficial Nematodes
Treat your garden soil with beneficial nematodes whenever the curl grubs are visible and present! And, when the temperature conditions are ideal as described above. Spring and/or fall are generally a good time to treat in most locations. Curl grubs are most active in warm weather. Some sources recommend a spring application, as the grubs will be vigorously feeding closer to the surface on new plant roots in the spring. Yet others suggest treating in the late summer to fall, to kill the grubs when theyre still small and the benefits will carry over to next spring.
I am not an expert on all the species of curl grub beetles, but I suspect that there are slight differences in each of their life cycles that would make spring versus fall more effective. Not to mention all of our varying climates. Therefore, if you are struggling with a severe infestation of grubs in your garden soil , it may be best to treat twice per year.
How To Tell If Your Lawn Has Grubs
As your lawn greens up in the Spring, look for brown patches that never seem to get healthy. If you have a well watered lawn, these can signal the presence of grubs with damage having been done the previous Fall. To confirm your suspicion, lift up a piece of the turf. If it easily rolls up or you see no roots below the soil level, grubs have been here. Also, have you noticed your lawn has become a feeding ground for neighborhood critters? Skunks, Birds, Racoons and Armadillos all love grubs and will tear up your lawn to get them .
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What Are Curl Grubs
Many species of soil-dwelling grubs are lumped into a group commonly known as curl grubs. They get their name due to their tendency to curl up into a C-shape when disturbed. Curl grubs are also sometimes called white grubs. This is because theyre all white in color , with a blue-grey butt and reddish-orange head and legs. In their larval stage, it is difficult to differentiate between species.
More specifically, curl grubs are the larvae of a number of species of cockchafer or Scarab beetles. Common curl grub beetles include Japanese Beetles, African Black Beetles, June Bugs, European Chafers, the Blackheaded pasture cockchafer, and Christmas beetles. Adult beetles lay eggs in the soil, the eggs hatch into larvae, and the larvae grow and feed in the soil. Eventually, the grubs turn into beetles and emerge from the soil and the cycle repeats itself.
White Grub Worm Life Cycle
The lifecycle of grubs, also called grub worms, begins when the grub worms from last year make their appearance as June bugs, also called Japanese beetles. This happens in the spring between May and June. While the Japanese beetles do not harm turf grass, they will damage trees and ornamentals as they feed on them.
June bugs and adult beetles lay eggs in healthy lawns. The eggs hatch in the summer and become white grub larvae. Those are the grubs that are going to damage your lawn. They feed on your lawn from July and September.
As winter moves in, the soil starts to freeze, and any grub worms that have survived bury deep into the soil and put themselves in a vegetative state during winter. When springs rolls in the next year, the newly hatched grubs come out of the soil as beetles around May to June. And so the life cycle of white grubs and June bug beetles continues.
As the grubs feed on your grassroots during the summer and fall, you will see irregular patterns of brown patches all over your lawn. You will also be able to peel your grass back like a carpet. You can see the grubs around the edges of the damaged turf.
To prevent grubs, use Acelepryn for season-long grub control. For organic options, Milky Spore Grub Control. be sure to read our top grub control and prevention products.
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How Can These Pests Damage Your Lawn
Just like a dog, raccoons or skunks will walk across a lawn with their nose to the ground. Their sense of smell is very acute and they are able to detect smells that humans cannot. Once they locate some grubs, they will tear up the lawn, pulling back chunks of turf in search of more food. They may return night after night, trying to see if there are any grubs that they missed the night before. I encountered a situation once where a raccoon returned to the same lawn the following spring and did a little exploratory digging in search of grubs.
Apply Nematodes To Control Grubs Naturally
You can apply nematodes to get rid of grubs in the lawn naturally and within a few days. Beneficial nematodes are very tiny roundworms that move in the moist soil under your turf and enter into the grubs where they release pathogens that attack the pests and kill them.
Heres how to use beneficial nematodes to eliminate grubs naturally:
- Choose beneficial nematodes that work against grub worms.
- Mix the nematodes with distilled water in a lawn or garden sprayer.
- Water your lawn adequately to keep it moist.
- Spray the nematodes on a grub-infested lawn in the evening.
Pro tip: Apply nematodes only in the evening because they get killed by light and heat. Also, make sure the soil temperature is above 60°F before applying this natural treatment. Water the lawn 15-20 minutes after applying the nematodes for the best results.
Repeat the application after two weeks for the best results in controlling grubs in your lawn.
The beneficial nematodes, also called entomopathogenic nematodes, are very effective and mobile in moist environments. They seek and follow their hosts and infect them. Soon after, the white grub population in the lawn will be destroyed.
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How Do I Know If I Have A Grub Problem
Most homeowners discover they have grubs in their flowerbeds or vegetable garden when they are digging the soil for spring planting or fall garden cleanup. For folks who find grubs in their lawns, most discover the issue while investigating oddly shaped, brown patches of grass in one or more areas of their lawn.
These patches are most often found in spring or in late-summer and early-fall, which are the seasons when grubs are most active. During the winter, grubs burrow deeper into the ground, and then move back to the top few inches of soil in the spring to eat and become pupae to emerge as beetles in early summer.
Alternatively, homeowners may discover their grub problem after they notice that racoons or birds are tearing up their lawn and that what they are uncovering are not run-of-the-mill earthworms.
In some cases, you may notice sections of your lawn that feel spongy. This can be an early sign of a grub infestation that may appear before brown patches develop.
If you suspect that you may have a grub problem in your lawn, the easiest way to investigate is to try to pull up the brown patches of lawn. If they easily lift or peel away from the soil, this means that the root system has been damaged, and you likely have grubs.
If you have visible damage and a population of 10 or more grubs per square foot, you will need to treat your lawn to avoid additional damage.
Natural Ways To Get Rid Of Lawn Grubs
You can pursue two organic options for getting rid of lawn grubs before turning to chemicals. These are safer for the environment and wont harm beneficial insects, but they will take longer to be effective. In some cases, it may take years for the natural treatments to fully eradicate a lawn grub colony.
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Grub Control For Lawns
Left unchecked, white grubs in your lawn will continue their destructive course and will eventually sever the roots of the grass so badly, it will be unable to regrow. Having your yard re-turfed is expensive and time consuming. Protect your lawn by using OMRI Listed® and compliant Safer® Brand products for a healthy and organic lawn.
When Should You Treat Your Lawn For Grubs
If you spot the pests, do not start panicking.
A healthy lawn should support a few grubs per square foot without notable damage.
They actually help with aeration and loosening the soil both are good for the grass.
To know when you treat your lawn, use the following guidelines:
- 5 or fewer per square foot: No treatment needed.
- 6 to 9 grubs per square foot: If they are not causing visible damage and arent inviting unwanted wildlife, no treatment required.
- 10 grubs or more per square foot: Start considering treatment.
Master gardeners apply it in to control the grubs year-round.
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How To Kill Grub Worms If Theyre Already Present
You will want to fertilize your lawn with Safer® Brand Lawn Restore® Fertilizer to keep it thick and healthy, and also be sure youre mowing your grass down to a minimum of two inches in height beetles prefer to lay their eggs in thin, sparse grass. It will be necessary to implement an infrequent watering schedule, too. When you do water your lawn, though, make sure to water it deeply to promote deeper and stronger growth of grass roots.