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How to Get Rid of Lawn Grubs

Updated Oct 19, 2022

Updated Oct 19, 2022

Home > Lawn > How to Get Rid of Lawn Grubs

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If you’ve noticed a patchy lawn and dug up a portion of your grass and found white larvae squirming around under the surface, you’re dealing with lawn grubs. These pesky insects feed on your grassroots. Lawn grubs are crucial to the ecosystem of your yard in small numbers, but they can quickly get out of hand and destroy your lawn. You’ll want to take action immediately to get rid of them, or your grass could die off entirely.

There are DIY grub solutions, which we’ll be discussing throughout this article. However, many homeowners opt to hire a grub prevention and control service for the best and fastest results. TruGreen is one of the best lawn care services on the market for handling your grub problem. 

For a free TruGreen quote, fill out this simple form or call 1-866-817-2172.

What Are Lawn Grubs?

Lawn grubs also referred to as white grubs, are beetle larvae. In most cases, The life cycle of a lawn grub includes maturing from the larval stage to pupae, then into June bugs or Japanese beetles. June beetle and Japanese beetle grubs are pale white, about a half-inch to an inch long, and usually appear in a c-shape when you dig them up.

Lawn grubs feed on the root system of your grass. They’re beneficial insects in small numbers, but a more sizable population can rapidly destroy your lawn.

How to Tell if You Have Grubs in Your Lawn

Short of digging up a portion of your lawn to check for grubs, there are three primary ways to detect if you have a booming grub population.

  • Dead grass patches: Since lawn grubs feed on your lawn’s root system, they gradually kill the grass above. When the grass cannot pull sufficient nutrients and water from the soil because of damaged roots from grubs feeding, you’ll likely see large dead patches of grass.
  • Increased animal activity: A high volume of grubs under the ground will naturally attract predators. If you notice more birds or raccoons on your property — especially if they dig around in your lawn — it could signify that you have an infestation of lawn grubs.
  • Grass pulls easily: If you notice that you can easily pull sections of grass out along with the roots, it’s a good indication of grub damage.

Checking For Lawn Grubs

If you notice any of the signs of grubs above, you’ll want to check your soil for grub activity to confirm the underlying issue. The easiest way to do that is to test your soil.

Soil Testing

To inspect your soil for grubs, you’ll have to dig up a small portion of your lawn — about one square foot of soil is sufficient. It’s best to do this on a brown patch, where grub activity is suspected. The patch should be about two or three inches deep, and the number of grubs you find will determine if you have a problem.

  • Fewer than five grubs mean you don’t have an issue. This amount is healthy and normal.
  • Five to ten grubs mean you might have a problem, but only if your lawn is visibly damaged.
  • Ten or more grubs means you have an unhealthy grub infestation, and your lawn needs immediate treatment.

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Natural Ways to Get Rid of Lawn Grubs

Thankfully, many natural grub control solutions won’t damage your lawn or put stress on the environment, and they’re also safe for use around pets and children. Below are three of the easiest and safest strategies to kill lawn grubs.

1. Beneficial Nematodes

Nematodes are tiny roundworm parasites that naturally feed on grub worms. These parasitic worms contain beneficial bacteria in their stomachs, which they release into the host as they provide. The bacteria kills grubs within 48 hours in most cases. While this might seem like a quick solution, it can take two to three years for them to eradicate a grub infestation.

You can buy beneficial nematodes from your local garden store, Amazon, or other websites. Apply them with a garden spreader in the late afternoon and water your lawn immediately afterward for the best results.

2. Milky Spore

Milky spore is a bacteria that grubs and adult beetles feed on. They quickly die and release even more milky spore into the soil when they do. The beauty of this method is that the concentration of the beneficial bacteria will increase as long as grubs are present.

Milky spore is safe to use, but it can also take a year or two for the best results. You can spread this fine powder over your lawn at any time of day, and you should continue applications two to three times a year until the issue is resolved.

3. Dry Your Lawn

The easiest way to control a grub infestation is to dry your lawn. The eggs from which the larvae hatch need moisture to thrive, so avoiding watering for about a month will likely help limit the population.

Most grass species will turn green again and thrive once you recommence watering, so you don’t have to worry too much about your lawn dying.

Best Chemical Solutions to Getting Rid of Grubs in Your Lawn

Most natural solutions to grub infestations take time, and some homeowners understandably want faster results. Some chemical insecticides can kill grub populations, and they have the added benefit of controlling other insects as well.

  1. Curative Chemical Treatments: Curative chemical treatments typically contain two active chemicals: trichlorfon and carbaryl. These chemicals kill grubs in all life stages, and they can be up to 80% effective. Water your lawn before and after applying it for the best results, and use the chemicals to the affected areas with a spreader. These grub killers are most effective in early fall, but a late spring treatment can be an excellent preventative measure.
  2. Preventative Chemical Treatments: Preventative chemicals are precisely what they sound like: they kill off eggs and immature larvae, but they don’t work well on mature lawn grubs. They typically contain imidacloprid, and they are best to use in early summer — June or July is ideal — but late summer can work as well. These preventative products can stop future grub generations from appearing on your property. Water your lawn with a sprinkler immediately after application for the best results.

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How to Prevent Lawn Grubs

Of course, preventing lawn grubs is even easier than treating them. Beetles have an easier time laying eggs in short, sickly grass or in bare patches. Maintaining a thick, healthy lawn by fertilizing and amending the soil when needed will go a long way in naturally reducing the risk of lawn grubs taking over. Mowing your lawn to a minimum of three inches is another natural way to keep grubs at bay.

Best Recommended Company for Grub Control and Prevention

Grub control can be confusing and time-consuming for many homeowners, and some find the waiting period concerning because you won’t know if the treatment has worked for several years in some cases. Hiring a professional lawn care company to handle your treatments is often a better idea and yields faster, guaranteed results.

We strongly recommend TruGreen as a professional lawn maintenance company. It provides a huge array of services to help remove grubs and other insects and keep your lawn and property looking beautiful and lush. Its prices are reasonable, its results are based on a soil test and science, and it guarantees your satisfaction. Check out TruGreen’s plans and services to find one that works for you.

Read our TruGreen Review to learn more about its services.

Best Overall
  • Large variety of plan options tailored to homeowners wants and needs
  • All services are backed and performed by TruExpert℠ Certified Specialists
  • Services provided in 49 states

Final Thoughts

Lawn grubs feed on your lawn’s root system, so they pose a severe threat to your yard if they appear in large numbers. You can often identify an issue by dead patches, increased animal activity, or loose grass that pulls out easily. You can choose from natural grub control products or more effective chemicals, but knowing how to get rid of grubs is paramount to your lawn’s health.

If you’re looking to hire a professional full-service lawn care company to handle your yard work, TruGreen is one of the best options. This company guarantees results and works quickly to restore your yard’s natural beauty. It also provides ongoing services like fertilization, tree and shrub care, aeration, lawn amendments, and more to customize your lawn care plan and get the best long-term results.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I use to treat my lawn for grubs?

You can opt for natural solutions — like beneficial nematodes, milky spore, or avoiding watering for about a month — to limit the grub population on your property. Applying chemical treatment or hiring a company like TruGreen to apply curative and preventative chemicals yields faster results in most cases but can be unsafe for children and pets.

Why does my lawn have grubs?

Lawn grubs are a natural part of the ecosystem on your property, and they’re beneficial in small numbers. The grub population can get out of hand naturally, or if you overwater your lawn or have bare patches that allow beetles to lay eggs.

How do I know my lawn has grubs?

Grub activity can be partially identified by signs above ground, including brown or dead patches, increased bird, skunk, and raccoon activity on your lawn, or dead grass that is easily pulled out along with the roots. In all cases, though, you’ll need to manually dig up a portion of your grass to check for grubs, as other issues could cause dead or weak grass. It may be smart to check your lawn annually to prevent grub populations from arising.

How do I naturally get rid of lawn grubs?

Natural solutions for a grub infestation include spreading beneficial nematodes or milky spore on your lawn. You can also dry out the yard for a month or so to reduce the number of eggs that hatch into these white larvae.

Can I use chemicals to get rid of lawn grubs?

Yes, absolutely. Curative and preventative pesticides can both be efficient for killing off grub populations. Curative chemicals treat existing grub colonies, while preventive chemicals treat future populations.

House Method Rating & Methodology

At House Method, transparency and trust are our most important values for the reader. That’s why we took the time to create an objective rating system and score each lawn company/service according to our methodology.

Our research team dug deep into the fine print of contracts, combed through over one hundred customer reviews, and thoroughly investigated each lawn care service’s costs, benefits, customer reviews, guarantees, plans, products, and a-la-carte options. We’ve done the homework for you by researching nearly all of the lawn care companies on the market so you can have the information you need to make the best choice for your home.

We developed a formula to objectively determine the best lawn care companies and give each a score out of 100 based on the following criteria:

  • Plan Options (30): Do they provide various plan options? We looked at the number of plans each company offered and the flexibility of adjusting the plan.
  • Services offered (20): How many services come in each plan? We looked at the number of lawn care coverages, including weed control, seeding, irrigation, aeration, dethatching, etc.
  • Trust (10): What do customers say after receiving service from the company? Does this company offer a guarantee? We considered how satisfied customers are post-service if the company does what it says it will, BBB accreditation, and service guarantees.
  • Prices (10): How reasonable are the costs of the plan or service in comparison to the industry average? We compared the costs of each company to competitors that offer the same lawn services.
  • Unique perks (10): Does the company offer discounts or special services such as organic treatments, pest control, or a mobile app? We looked for extras each company offers that set them apart from the competition.
  • Customer Service (10): How is the customer experience when contacting the company? We considered the speed of response, weekend/holiday availability, and ease of communication through phone calls, email, and online chat functions.
  • Nationwide availability (10): How many states does the company offer its services? Companies that operate nationally and in all zip codes are favored over those with limited availability.

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