How To Control Grubs, Naturally

Grub damage on a lawn Peeling back turf to spot grub damage European Chafer Grub

The larva of various beetles and chafers, also known as grubs, can do some serious damage to a lawn or garden. Luckily, there are some natural ways to prevent grubs through changes in cultural practices. If prevention doesn’t work, we also have a few natural ways to kill grubs outright. In this article, we’ll explain why grubs are in your yard, how to spot grub damage, where they come from, and how to control these pesky pests.

Where do grubs come from?

Grubs are the soil-dwelling larva of various beetles and chafers such as the Japanese beetle, June beetle, and European chafer. An adult beetle will lay its eggs in your lawn or garden and when that egg hatches what emerges is a white grub.

What problems do grubs and beetles cause?

Grubs hatch in the fall and begin to eat the roots of your plants until winter arrives, at which point they retreat down below the frost level until spring. In the spring, grubs return to the root-zone and feast again on plant roots until it is time for them to morph into their adult form: beetles or chafers. Once adults, the beetles or chafers will emerge and feast on the leaves of your plants, find a mate, and then lay eggs.

How can I identify grub damage?

The damage caused by grub activity will look like patches of dead grass surrounded by an otherwise healthy lawn. One way to check if a lawn is experiencing grub damage is to cut a small square of the lawn and try to peel the lawn back. The lawn should peel away fairly easy if there are in fact grubs attacking the lawn. Spotting grub damage can be difficult. We recommend calling a local lawn care company and getting their opinion.

What is causing all these holes in my lawn?

In addition to the damage beetles and grubs can cause themselves, white grubs are also a food source for moles, skunks, and other vermin. These animals can be the cause of additional damage when they dig to find grubs to eat.

When should I treat my lawn and garden for grubs?

For best results, kill grubs when they’re actively eating, which is in the spring and fall. Immature grubs are most susceptible to treatment, which means applying a control when grubs have just hatched (typically in the fall) gives an even greater success rate. For preventive measures, we recommend applying product in April or May to control grubs, and then again in the fall.

How can I get rid of grubs?

The first step to getting rid of grubs is to reduce the conditions which grubs favor. Grubs typically prefer healthy lawns with moist soil conditions. In the summer, this means those who irrigate their lawns are at a higher risk for grub populations. Reduce your irrigation to deeper, but infrequent watering. In addition, a regular aeration and over-seeding program will encourage a deeper root system and a healthier stand of turfgrass. This ultimately means your lawn will be able to withstand the damage caused by grubs.

If the grub problem is so severe you fear permanent damage to your lawn, we recommend the following product:

  • Milky Spore is a naturally occurring bacterium and is not harmful to humans, pets or beneficial insects. It begins working as soon as it is applied. When grubs ingest Milky Spore they die, releasing billions of additional spores into the soil to control future generations. Efficacy increases as the spores grow, divide, and populate the soil. Milky Spore has been known to last 15 to 20 years. We recommend re-applying Milky Spore every 10 years.

Beetle Life Cycle and When to Apply Control

Call us at (888) 546-5941 and talk with a lawn care specialist to determine the safer, effective, and affordable solution for your property. Visit us at to learn about these and other products.

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