If you’ve spotted yellow or dying patches of grass in your yard that don’t seem to improve no matter how much you water them, grubs may be to blame. These worm-like pests are notorious for chewing on the delicate root systems of lawns.
If you’ve decided to oust these destructive intruders, begin by learning to identify grubs and their damage. Once you confirm that grubs are the cause of your yard woes, you can implement some DIY solutions to help rid yourself of these damaging invaders.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Grubs, often thought to be worms, are actually ravenous beetle larvae. These larvae hatch from eggs and begin to feast on the roots of your lawn, vegetables, and ornamental plants. They then mature into adult beetles who are capable of even more damage. Grubs measure at about an inch long and have white bodies often curled up into the shape of a C.
Grubs can likely be found underneath dying plants just below the soil’s surface where the roots once stood firmly in the ground. These destructive larvae are most often spotted during the spring/late summer and fall months when they are most active. When grubs take up residence in your yard, they’re often here to stay: many species of beetle can take months or even a year or more to reach full maturity.
The feeding habits of grubs result not only in cosmetic damage to your yard, but also structural damage as well. Patches of grass or other plants that have fallen victim to grubs’ insatiable appetite are easily lifted out of the soil, leaving holes behind.
DIY TIPS FOR GRUB REMOVAL
A grub infestation doesn’t have to mean the end of your dream lawn and garden. Though thoroughly destructive, grubs have their weaknesses, too.
TREAT THE AFFECTED AREA
Two of the most effective deterrents for grubs can be found at your local home and garden store or even purchased online. Neem oil is a natural deterrent that is easily diluted with water and can be sprayed on areas that are infested by adult beetles. This substance works by interfering with mating patterns between adult beetles, thus preventing them from laying eggs (which turn into grubs) anywhere near the oil mixture. Additionally, spraying during peak grub activity discourages current grubs from continuing to feast on the roots of your lawn.
You can also use milky spore to combat grubs. This substance can be easily mixed into soil or even spread on top of the ground. Milky spore is a natural, environmentally friendly pathogen that has no negative effect on garden plants or grass. This product is often best used in conjunction with other methods since the milky spore pathogen can take months to up to several years to become fully effective.
CREATE A HOSTILE ENVIRONMENT
For active grub infestations, beneficial nematodes are another option. This tiny, worm-like species introduces harmful bacteria into your soil, sabotaging grub communities. Beneficial nematodes can be easily purchased and are small enough to be placed in a bottle and sprayed on or near the damage. Like the preventative substances in the section above, these worms aren’t harmful to anything but bothersome grubs and will preserve the integrity of your garden.
You may also find some grub predators arriving in your yard of their own accord. If your grub problem is large enough, moles, raccoons, and some bird species will come to your garden without any effort on your part. Grubs are a preferred snack for many animals, so if you’d like to let Mother Nature take care of the problem for you, draw these grub predators in using bait, birdseed, or other attractive items. A word of caution, however: bringing in more animals or creatures can backfire and bring on more unintended damage to your home and garden as these animals dig for food. Keep this in mind when employing this method, and consider alternatives if you’d like to keep your yard as creature-free as possible.
BRING IN SOME BACKUP
Grubs can be a frustrating and persistent pest, leaving you exasperated and disheartened. The length of their life cycle means that once they’re in your yard, they’re likely to remain there for months or even years if left to their own devices. Additionally, many of the most effective pest control methods must be implemented during the proper season and at the most optimal time to be effective. Even negligible grub infestations left untreated can become larger problems without proper interference.
If trying to tackle a grub problem on your own has you feeling overwhelmed, contact us for assistance. We want you to be successful at controlling destructive grub populations so you can reclaim your home, lawn, and garden.