Should You Call A Professional
If you already use a lawn service to keep your yard neat and healthy, they will likely spot your grub problem and suggest treatments. If not, you can call a lawn service to treat the lawn. But grub eradication is a doable DIY project. Pros are probably going to use the same methods you would if you treated the lawn yourself, so the only advantage of hiring a pro is to save yourself the hassle.
Is It Right To Apply Grub Control Yearly
Part of the many questions that arise includes the frequency of applying grub control.
Its best to apply grub control only when the resulting damage is visible. Grub presence is never mistaken as patches of your lawn will naturally turn brown. Only when signs are seen should you proceed with treatment.
As discussed to this point, weve seen that timing is everything when it comes to grub control. Application is mainly determined by WHEN such treatments should be made.
How To Get Rid Of Lawn Grubs
In most climates, grubs are near the surface of the soil. Theyre at their smallest and most vulnerable in August and September, so these are the best months to treat for them.
Sod Solutions recommends Dylox 6.2 Granular White Grub Insecticide, which needs to be applied with a broadcast spreader and watered within 24 hours. However, this product is toxic to wildlife, and shouldnt enter storm drains or drainage ditches. For a natural pest solution, try one or more of these options:
- Introduce nematodes beneficial, microscopic worms that feed on grub worms.
- Introduce milky spore, a naturally occurring disease that attacks grub worms but doesnt harm other plants or wildlife. The spores must be spread several times over two years, but they protect your lawn for 10 years or more.
- Create a bird-friendly habitat by placing birdhouses and birdbaths in your yard to attract insect-eating birds like robins, wrens and jays. Theyll eat the grubs, along with the beetles once they start to emerge.
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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.
Do I Need To Treat For Grubs
If you have a very high concentration of grubs 10 or more grubs per square foot treatment may be necessary to maintain healthy grass. However, if you have a lower count of grubs, yet arent seeing good results in your lawn, thats a clue that you should revisit your lawn care practices more broadly.
Some of the best practices we recommend are:
- Testing your soil every 2-3 years, and following the fertilizer and amendment recommendations.
- Keeping grass mowed high at least 2, and ideally 3 or more which means that your grass will have a deeper, healthier root system that can tolerate more sub-surface insect feeding.
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The Best Time To Apply Grub Killer
The question of when to put down grub control can be answered only after defining the type of pesticide being used. If you know your lawn already has a pest problem and this year, you want to nip it in the bud, and you might choose a grub preventer.
- Grub Preventer should be applied shortly before the grubs hatch you may have noticed in previous summers when this was, due to sudden brown patches and lawn damage. As a rule, this is usually early summer, but take a look at our chart below for a more accurate timeline.
However, if you find yourself well into the growing season and have started to notice damage to your lawn due to grubs, it is too late for a preventative. At this point, you will need to apply a regular grub killer.
- Grub control, when applied correctly, will get rid of the pests it comes in contact with and therefore, can be applied anytime you notice the grubs are active. This usually coincides with your lawns growing season.
Chemical Ways To Get Rid Of Lawn Grubs
Chemical control is sure to kill off your lawn grubs, but it comes at a costusing these treatments can kill beneficial insects, too. There are two types of chemical treatments.
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The Best Time To Treat For Grubs In Your Lawn
There are a lot of reasons why certain patches of grass dont grow very well, but one of the most common in Minnesota lawns is grubs . These harmful invaders lay their eggs in the dirt under your grass in the summer. Those eggs grow up and feed in the fall and spring. This cycle of feeding can be extremely harmful to the grass in your lawn. In this blog post, well discuss the best time to treat for Japanese beetles/grubs in your lawn. If you dont want to do the treatment yourself, let your local Minneapolis lawn care specialists help you by filling out a quote request.
After Applying Grub Killer
Once the grub control is applied, it is essential to care properly for your lawn afterward and ensure the solution gets where it needs to be. Because grubs thrive among the roots of the grass in the soil, the grub killer needs to be watered in. This makes sure that the grub killer granules reach the roots instead of just sitting on top of the grass. It is recommended to water about half an inch over the treated area right away.
It is also important to monitor your lawn for grubs or other activities during the next week or so. If the grubs dont appear to have died off, then you may need to reapply. Make sure always to read and follow the label, but it may be the case that you need a stronger dosage.
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How To Treat Lawn Grub Attacks
If you find your lawn afflicted with the curse of the lawn grubs dont despair. Treating and eradicating these pests is relatively easy. You will need to be particularly vigilant as the weather warms up, usually September to March, and after heavy rain. Couch and Kikuyu varieties are usually the most prone to attack and Buffalo to a lesser extent. Once you have determined that you are indeed under attack you must defend your lawn without delay.
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.
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Are There Natural Treatments For Grub Infestations
The two natural products we are asked about most are milky spore and nematodes.
Milky spore is a bacterium that is effective for controlling Japanese beetle larvae, provided the spring soils are sufficiently warm. While the research on milky spore in our region hasnt been revisited recently, the latest research findings are that spring soils in Northern New England are too cold for milky spore to be effective. That said, there is anecdotal evidence that it has shown at least some efficacy in warmer micro-climates within southern New Hampshire. Milky spore may be worth a try if you are:
- Sure that the grubs in your lawn are the larvae of Japanese beetles
- In a warmer microclimate within southern New Hampshire
Keep in mind that milky spore will take several years to achieve good results.
Nematodes are microscopic worms, and some species of nematodes can work very well for controlling grubs in home lawns. To successfully use nematodes for grub control, you should keep the following principles in mind:
For home gardeners that do their homework and follow instructions carefully, nematodes can be a great natural option for controlling grubs.
Controlling Grubs In The Lawn
Beetles, like Japanese and chafer beetles, emerge in early summer, feed on plants in the garden, and lay their eggs in the soil in the lawn. Later in the summer, the grubs hatch and immediately begin to feed. They will continue to eat and grow until mid-fall, when they move deeper in the soil so they can survive through the winter. When the soil warms up again in the spring, the large, mature grubs move back into the upper soil levels, where they transform into adult beetles that emerge in early summer and start the whole process over again.
The key to controlling grubs is to kill them before they hatch and begin to cause damage to your lawn. In spring or early summer, apply a preventative grub control product, such as Scotts® GrubEx®1 to your lawn, following label directions. This is especially important if youve had problems with grubs in the past. One application of Scotts® GrubEx®1 can kill and prevent grubs for up to 4 months.
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Treating A Lawn Grub Invasion
A chemical-free way to rid yourself of lawn grubs is to put a wet hessian bag over the affected area of your lawn. The grubs will attach themselves to the hessian overnight and you can then dispose of the grubs first thing in the morning. The more thorough method for you can use a chemical like Grub Killa. With the active ingredient Bifenthrin, this product is toxic to most insects but less toxic to birds and of minimal toxicity to mammals. This makes it safer than many other pest control products.
Treating tips when spraying for lawn grubs:
Spring Time Isnt Ideal For Grub Control
When springtime sets in, a lot of homeowners make the mistake of thinking that grubs can be controlled effectively.
However, findings have shown that such assumptions are false. In spring, grubs are almost clocking a year of their lifecycle.
What does that mean? It means that these pests are ready to metamorphose into beetles.
Attacking them at this stage wont be a good idea. Their reasons are simple when insecticides are used on grubs at this stage, other beneficial organisms in the soil are affected or killed off.
Plus, grubs cause limited damage at this stage of their development.
When they eventually become beetles, they fly off in search of favorable territory. A favorable territory will be one with attractive plants such as crepe myrtle, roses, and ornamental cherries among several others.
Areas with such attractive plants that serve as food create ideal conditions for breeding. In other words, the reproductive cycle starts again with a new generation of grubs being unleashed. What time is ideal then?
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How To Choose And When To Apply Grub Control Products For Your Lawn
Not all the grub control products on store shelves will be effective this spring. Heres how to choose and use the right one for your lawn.
Be sure the problem is grubs. Before doing anything, it is important to make sure the problem is grubs. In the last 10 years, the amount of European chafer damage to home lawns in southern Michigan has steadily decreased to the point where it is unusual now to find populations high enough to damage turf. However, as European chafers and Japanese beetles have spread northward, lawns and other low maintenance turf areas in much of the Lower Peninsula north of Lansing and in the eastern half of the Upper Peninsula are seeing more damage. The outbreak phase where turf damage is common may last five to 10 years.
European chafer grubs may be found in all locations in Michigans Lower Peninsula and in much of the Upper Peninsula. Regionally, European chafers are a much bigger problem than they used to be. In 2002, they were only found in New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Delaware, New Jersey, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maryland, Southern Michigan, and eastern Ohio. Now it has spread throughout Ohio, Michigan , northern Indiana and into eastern Illinois. It was also reported in Wisconsin in 2013. In Canada, it is a problem in Ontario and Vancouver, so Washington State is on the lookout for it also.
How Can I Naturally Get Rid Of Grubs In My Lawn
If youre dealing with Japanese beetle grubs, milky spore is another natural bacterium that may assist. Allowing grubs to dry out is another easy method to destroy them. They can only grow in wet soil and will perish if there is a drought. If you dont water the grass, you may be able to get rid of them.
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White Grubs What Are They
White grubs are the immature phase, or larvae, of beetles in the scarab family. In Minnesota, white grubs are typically the larvae of May-June beetles and Japanese beetles.
Like all beetles, white grubs undergo complete metamorphosis. Adult beetles lay their eggs in the ground, where the eggs hatch and the beetle larvae live. The beetles progress through the egg stage, several immature stages, and a non-feeding intermediate stage to the adult stage.
The bodies of white grubs grow considerably throughout their life cycle and they move within the soil. White grubs cant tolerate freezing temperatures when temperatures cool in the fall, larvae move lower in the soil, below the normal frost line, to survive winter. When the weather warms, they move up to feed on roots.
Different species of white grubs look similar to one another but can be distinguished by the arrangement of hairs and bristles on the underside of their abdomen at the tip called a raster pattern. Raster patterns are challenging to see and recognize an expert should identify any pest grubs.
Management will differ based on what species of white grub is present in your yard because they have different timing for their life cycles, which means different timing for management.
The Beetle Life Cycle
The majority of adult beetle species lay eggs in the summer. The grubs hatch and eat the grass roots until cold weather arrives. Then grubs burrow 2 to 8 inches into the soil to overwinter. When spring arrives and the soil warms, the grubs begin feeding on the grass roots again. In late spring and early summer, they pupate, and emerge as adults in midsummer.
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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.