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Homemade Grub Control

By Cas Schicke ; Updated September 21, 2017

Grubs are the seemingly invisible destroyers of your well-kept lawn. Living underground, they damage the roots, causing unsightly brown patches in your grass. Whether mindful of the harm chemicals can do to children, pets and the environment or for economic reasons, there are homemade choices for grub control.

What Is a Grub

A grub is the midway stage between egg and adult beetle. It is the larval stage of June, Japanese and scarab beetles. In this stage, the grub feeds near the surface on grass roots, weakening and often killing the infested area of lawn. You can detect them by pulling up the patch of infected turf under which any grubs will appear as white, C-shaped stubby worms. Two to three grubs present in several 6-inch square test areas is serious enough to warrant treatment.

Keep It Dry

To stop grubs in their tracks, let your lawn dry out during your hottest months, typically July and August. Your grass will settle into a dormant stage, denying the grubs the nourishment they need and causing them to die off. Regular fall maintenance will bring your lawn back to life minus the grubs. The following year, practice an “only when it needs it” lawn-watering practice. A dry summer can be fatal to thousands of grubs.

Make The Right Choice

If a grub infestation has been so severe you need to reseed your lawn, choose your grass seed wisely. There are disease- and insect-resistant grass cultivars that can help prevent grubs. Read the labels carefully. Your choices would include certain types of bluegrass, rye and fescue. A lawn planted with these specialty seeds is a simple preventative step to avoid having to deal with grubs.

Hand-Picked Solution

To stop the cycle of beetle, egg and larvae (grub), you might want to start with the visible adult beetle. If your infestation is small, you can remove the adult beetles by hand. The beetles are least active in late afternoon or early morning, when they can be found sitting on plant leaves and grass stalks. Prepare a jar of water with a few drops of biodegradable soap. As you see the beetles, put them in the jar of water, where they will quickly drown.

Not Quite Homemade

While not homemade, you can purchase nematodes or milky spore at your local gardening center. Both are natural-occurring bacterium that you can safely apply without high-tech special equipment or training. Following label directions, you can safely apply it to your lawn.

The milky spore attacks only the Japanese beetle grub. Nematodes seek out grubs and inject a lethal symbiotic bacterium that kills within 24 to 48 hours.


About the Author


Cas Schicke is a freelance writer with numerous published articles. Her topics of interest pertain to home and garden issues. Sharing knowledge about the why or how of growing things or useful home information is the main ingredient of Schicke's published articles. Her articles have been published in eHow and GardenGuides.