If you’ve noticed dead or dry patches in your lawn, you may be dealing with grubs. Grubs are a serious pest problem and can wreak havoc on your landscaping.
There are a number of ways you can go about treating a grub problem, including finding the best grub killer.
That said, chemical methods are not always recommended or needed when it comes to grub killer, and there are many alternatives that work just as effectively against these annoying and damaging lawn pests.
In today’s article, we are going to talk about grubs and learn more about the different types of grub killer you can use to get rid of these pests for good.
What Are Grubs?
Grubs are beetle larvae that live below the soil and feed on grass roots.
Also known as white grubs, grubs are the larvae of different species of beetles.The most common beetles that produce grubs include scarab beetles like Japanese beetles, masked chafer beetles and European chafer beetles.
Grubs are problematic in lawns and yards because they live below the soil where they feed on grass roots, and they are often difficult to detect until after the damage is already done. Worse, a large and very serious grub infestation in your lawn can effectively kill off your entire yard, meaning you’ll need to begin landscaping from scratch.
Once grubs mature, they emerge from the soil as beetles, where they feed on plant life and cause an entire array of different problems for you. Furthermore, beetles reproduce rapidly, creating more grubs that will further eat away at your lawn in the future.
A grub problem can be problematic and expensive, but there are a few ways you can identify a grub infestation in your lawn and work to find the best grub killer before they get out of control.
Let’s learn more.
How To Identify Grubs In Your Yard or Garden
Patches of dead grass is often one of the first signs of grub activity.
Grubs are most problematic in late summer and early fall during the months of August and September. This is the time they are most actively feeding on grass roots beneath the soil. However, lush lawns that continue to grow even during the active feeding time of grubs can make it difficult to locate a problem until later on, especially if new grass continues to grow and cover old, dying grass.
Luckily, if you are vigilant and know what to look for, you should be able to detect a grub problem early on and be able to find the best grub killer for you.
One of the first signs that you’re going to need a decent grub killer is the sign of beetles in your yard or garden. Grubs are larvae of a variety of beetles, so the presence of many beetles in your yard will surely mean grubs in the near future.
Watch for signs of beetle activity, including actively seeing beetles, or even beetle damage to ornamental plants, trees, leaves and shrubs.
If you know you have a beetle problem in your yard or garden, we highly recommend getting a good pest control regime going to get rid of the beetles as well as investing in a quality grub killer. Acting early can help to stop the potential destruction of your yard once the grubs hatch below your soil.
Along with keeping an eye out for beetles in your yard, you can also identify early signs of grubs by keeping an eye out for:
Patches of Dead or Dying Grass
Grubs feed on the roots of grass below the soil, and a serious grub infestation can kill out the grass completely. If your lawn is showing signs of death in patchy areas with no other reasonable explanation, you likely have grubs.
Patches of Grass That Have Been Destroyed By Animals Feasting On Grubs
Another sign of grubs is animal activity. Animals like raccoons, moles, and even birds will dig through and destroy patches of grass in your lawn where grubs are most active. If you notice a lot of animal activity in your yard near these dead patches of grass, it’s time to get yourself some good grub killer.
Grass That Rolls Up Off Of Your Turf Like Carpet
If you suspect you have grubs, cut out a section of the dead lawn and lift it up. Lawns that have been damaged by grubs will often roll up easily, like loose carpet. This is because the roots beneath them connecting them to the soil are gone.
An Abundance of White Grubs In The Soil
When digging through the soil beneath the dead grass, count how many grubs you come across. Anymore than 10 grubs clustered in small surface areas means you likely have a severe grub infestation on your hands. If this is the case, you may need to use a good grub killer along with other pest control methods including organic pest control, commercial products, and even professional pest control assistance.
You may also have grubs if you notice:
- Spongy grass
- Droopy or dying leaves
- Dead or dying plants and flowers
What Attracts Grubs To Your Property?
Grubs come from beetles, who lay their eggs in the soil. The grubs hatch and feed on grass roots, then mature into beetles who lay more eggs.
Beetles are responsible for grubs, so it’s important to consider what is attracting beetles to your yard when looking for the best grub killer.
Most beetles are commonly attracted to:
- Short grass
- Plant roots
- Roses and rose bushes
- Ornamental plants and trees
- Garden plants
- Edible garden plants
- Garden lights
- Porch lights
- Window lights
It’s important to also keep in mind that most beetles are active during spring and summer, which is why their grub offspring tend to crop up just after that, during late summer and fall. Keeping the beetles away means you may be able to avoid grubs and grub killer altogether, but we’ll talk more about prevention further down.
For now, let’s go over the best grub killer available and learn about different methods and products you can use to get rid of grubs for good.
Best Grub Killer – Natural Methods
Natural methods like Diatomaceous Earth powder or Milky Spore powder can help naturally and safely eliminate grubs.
Getting rid of grubs is generally difficult only because they work so quickly and quietly. As we mentioned above, many people don’t realize they have a grub problem until the damage has been done.
For this reason, many people assume they need to use harsh chemical methods and grub killers to eliminate these pests, but that’s actually not the case. In fact, in most instances experts recommend looking for natural grub killer methods that will kill the grubs causing you problems without harming your yard, garden, and the beneficial insects who live in it.
Luckily, there are plenty of natural and safe grub killer products you can purchase that are not only safe for your yard, but also safe for people, pets and the environment.
Take a look.
St Gabriel Organics Milky Spore Grub Control
Milky Spore is one of the best natural grub killer products and grub control regimes you can use on your lawn, especially if you are looking for an organic method of pest control.
We like St. Gabriel Organics because it is a trusted organic brand for pest control and includes other preventative ingredients to help repel and prevent pests like grubs.
However, this product specifically targets Japanese beetle larvae, so make sure you do your research before applying it so you know it will work as a good grub killer for the grubs in your yard.
Beneficial Nematodes Grub Killer
Beneficial Nematodes are living little grub killer worms who feed on pests like grubs, japanese beetles, cutworms and over 200 other different pests without harming your yard or garden. They are tiny round worms that are actually beneficial to the environment and leave the good bugs alone.
Best of all, beneficial nematodes are safe for people and pets. It is safe to apply and each order can treat up to 1.5 acres of land. You can use this grub killer throughout your yard, as a spot treatment, in your garden, or anywhere you notice lawn damage or grub activity.
Nema Globe Grub Busters
No products found.
Nema Globe is another brand of beneficial nematodes you can be used throughout your yard and garden as a grub killer. The above order is designed to be mixed with water and sprayed throughout the affected area, making it simple and safe to apply.
It controls a number of grubs and insects and does not require refrigeration, like many beneficial nematode products do.
Each order can cover up to 3,000 square feet and is safe for people, pets and the environment.
HARRIS Diatomaceous Earth Crawling INsect Killer
Made of fossilized algae, Diatomaceous Earth is a natural and organic form of pest control that works as an ideal grub killer for yards and gardens. It can also be used to prevent other pests like spiders, beetles, earwigs, and even bedbugs.
Diatomaceous Earth is safe for people, pets and the environment and can be used both inside and out. It works by penetrating the exoskeleton of pests, which dehydrates and kills them on contact.
However, while it does work to control a number of pests, it works best when dry. If Diatomaceous Earth gets wet it will need to be reapplied.
Best Grub Killer Using Insecticides
Beetles reproduce rapidly, laying their eggs in the soil. Some insecticides with an insect growth regulator can help reduce the number of grubs and grub damage in your yard.
Unfortunately, not all natural grub killer products will work, and if you have a severe grub problem then you may need to use more intensive treatment methods. Insecticides and pesticides are an effective grub killer option, however most of these products contain harsh ingredients that can be toxic to people, pets and the environment.
We should also note that some pesticides must be applied by professionals only due to certain laws and regulations, so make sure to read up on the legalities in your area.
When using chemical pest control methods such as an insecticidal grub killer, it’s always best to do so after reading the directions carefully and ensuring you keep these products out of reach of children and pets.
If you’re looking for some of the best insecticide or chemical grub killer options for serious grub damage, we have listed some of the most highly recommended grub killer products below.
With a name like GrubEx, you already know it’s designed as a grub killer. The above order is available in two sizes which can cover either 5,000 square feet or 10,000 square feet. The product is meant to be applied to lawns in spring and summer to stop grubs from maturing and spreading.
Once applied, it offers up to 4 months of protection from grubs and other insects who feed below the soil. However, while this product is an effective grub killer, it does contain toxic chemical ingredients and should be used responsibly.
Only use it as directed and keep it out of reach of children and pets.
Bonide Insect and Grub Control
Another grub killer we recommend is by Bonide. This product works to kill grubs below the soil as well as insects above ground. It works in as little as 24 hours and can last for up to 3 months after being applied.
This product works best after being watered so it can seep into the soil. You should also apply it using a fertilizer spreader so it is distributed evenly. Along with being a grub killer, this insect repellent can also get rid of and control ticks, fleas, ants, mole crickets and more.
BioAdvanced Grub Killer
No products found.
The above grub killer by BioAdvanced also works in as little as 24 hours and works on grubs, ticks, ants, pillbugs, chinch bugs, cutworms, grasshoppers, and earwigs. It can help prevent future lawn damage while also stopping current lawn damage caused by grubs in its tracks.
The active ingredient in this grub killer is Dylox, which is designed to kill grubs and other pests on contact. However, while this is effective, we suggest reading the directions carefully and using it only as directed.
Best Grub Killer – Home Remedies
White chrysanthemums can help repel beetles and in turn their larvae.
If you’re in the early stages of a grub problem in your yard, you can go ahead and try your hand at some do it yourself pest control methods. Home remedies for grub killer tactics are not only often effective, but also generally safe and inexpensive.
Some of the homemade grub killer options listed below are to help not only prevent future grubs, but also their beetle counterparts who are responsible for them.
Many organic gardeners use essential oils for pest control. However, not all essential oils work for all pests. The best essential oils that will help repel grubs include:
- Neem Oil
- Peppermint Oil
- Cedar Oil
You can make your own essential oil spray by combining five to 10 drops of the above essential oil of your choice in a spray bottle with a cup of water. Spray this solution around your plants and yard, and anywhere you notice grub activity.
Try Companion Planting
Just as beetles have specific plants they like, they also have plants they detest. You can repel beetles and therefore their grubs by using the companion planting technique and planting the below plants throughout your yard and garden.
- White Chrysanthemums
However, while companion planting can be a great pest deterrent, you should also keep in mind that some plants can be toxic to children and pets. Make sure you do your research before planting certain plants in your garden, especially if you have curious kids or animals in the home.
Lemon Juice and Dish Soap Beetle Repellent Spray
- 2 cups lemon juice
- 1 cup liquid dish soap
- ½ cup mouthwash
- ½ cup water
- 1 spray bottle
Mix the above ingredients in a spray bottle and spray the solution throughout your yard and lawn to prevent and repel beetles. This is not a grub killer, but it will repel beetles who would potentially lay eggs in your soil, which will lead to grubs.
Use Crushed Garlic To Repel Grubs and Beetles
Place crushed garlic in and around your yard and garden. You can even bury some in soil. The smell of freshly crushed garlic will repel a number of pests from beetles to grubs to more. While crushed garlic is safe for people, it can be toxic to curious pets. For that reason, we do not suggest you use this method in areas where dogs play.
Garlic and Mineral Oil Spray Grub Repellent Spray
You can also repel grubs using a crushed garlic and mineral oil spray that you make at home. This spray is safe to use on plants and is fine to use around children and pets.
- 2 cloves of fresh chopped garlic
- 1 tbsp of mineral oil
- 1 tbsps of liquid dish soap
- 1 quart of water
- 1 spray bottle
Combine the above ingredients in the spray bottle and mix it thoroughly. Allow it to sit overnight before spraying it in your yard over the affected areas you notice grub and beetle activity. Repeat the process as necessary.
Are Grubs Dangerous To People or Pets?
Grubs are not dangerous to people or pets, though the damage they can cause to lawns can be quite extensive.
While grubs can be a serious nuisance, they are not dangerous to people and pets. That said, their presence in lawns and gardens can be quite costly, as the only way to repair severe damage done to landscaping from grubs is to start all over again with fresh sod or grass seed.
If you notice the early stages of a grub problem in your yard, we suggest acting quickly to avoid expensive repairs.
Sometimes, even the best commercial grub killer is ineffective and you’ll need to contact a professional pest control expert to help remedy the problem. Most pest control experts charge between $100 to $500 for grub control in your yard, and they should be able to steer you in the right direction as far as prevention goes.
Of course, along with knowing a thing or two about the best grub killer, we also know some good ways to prevent grubs in the future. Keep reading.
How To Prevent Grubs In The Future
You can prevent future grub problems by tilling the soil, companion planting, inviting grub predators, and more.
We always say prevention is key when it comes to protecting your home and property from pests like grubs. Preventing grubs is generally cheaper and easier than using a grub killer, and can help protect your lawn from future damage.
Let’s go over some of our favorite grub preventative measures you can take once you have successfully utilized a quality grub killer.
Till The Soil In The Winter
Tilling the soil will not only help keep it healthy, but it will also make the soil less hospitable to insects and grubs. Of course, tilling soil isn’t always feasible unless it’s in gardens, so this is primarily a preventative you can take around ornamental plants like rose bushes, flowers and even trees.
Still, just doing this one, small step in the winter can prevent future grubs from hatching and spreading throughout your yard.
Use Companion Planting
Utilizing companion planting in your garden and even around the perimeter of your yard can help prevent beetles which, in turn, prevents future grubs.
The best companion plants that beetles are most deterred by include garlic, marigolds, tansy, white chrysanthemums, catnip, onions, chives, larkspur and leeks.
Protect Ornamental Plants and Flowers With Pest-Proof Netting
If you would prefer to use netting to protect the plants around your home, a good plant netting can help prevent damage from beetles. This netting will also make food difficult to come by and can help deter beetles from laying eggs in the soil near these plants.
Invite the Beetle Predators
Grub predators like moles and raccoons can be destructive, but beetle predators like birds can help eliminate beetles and reduce future grubs in your yard. Some of the best beetle predators you should invite to your yard include:
Use A Pest Repellent Regime Year-Round
Last, we suggest using a year-round pest prevention regime to help protect your home and yard from a number of pests, not just beetles and grubs. Whether you choose natural perimeter sprays, home remedies, or chemical pest control methods, so long as you use them responsibly and correctly, they should work.
So, what do you think about grub killer products and methods? Would you prefer to use home remedies, natural methods or insecticides? Share your thoughts with us about the best grub killer for you in our comment section below.
Thanks for reading!
Jack founded our blog after two decades of working in the pest control industry. His vast experience dealing with a wide array of pests allows him to diagnose issues quickly and get to the heart of pest problems quickly and effectively. He has serviced more than 2,000 homes over his career and there is hardly any pest situation that he has not seen before.