White Grubs, Lawn Grubs & Grub Control

Grubs are difficult to deal with. Often you don’t even know you have a problem with grubs until it is too late. Not all lawns with grubs need grub control.  However, once a lawn reaches a critical population, grubs can start to damage you lawn. Lawn grubs or white grubs come from beetle larvae. You can typically find these grubs in lawn during the late spring and early summer as well as in the fall. The most notorious lawn grub worms of these groups are Japanese Beetles, Masked Chafers, and Asiatic and June Beetles. The June Beetles do most of their damage during the early summer, but the Japanese Beetles damage you lawn in the fall.

Grub ControlIn June and July, these larva turn into adult beetles. They mate, and then lay their eggs back into the soil. In the early fall, the larva lay their eggs in the soil. Before it gets too cold, the grub worms burrow themselves 6 to 8 inches into the soil. They emerge in the early spring as larva and grow very fast as they eat your lawn. If you are going to apply white grub control, it is important to find them as early as possible because often, you don’t know you have them until it is too late. Most of the time, you want to apply grub control in the late spring or in the fall. And most of the time, the white grubs do not kill the lawn directly, but they eat the tap roots. So when conditions of lawn stress or mild drought take place, these become fatal to a lawn. One or two lawn grubs in your lawn won’t do any damage, but when you have 8-10 larva in a twelve inch space, they can really do a lot of damage. Adult beetles do not damage grass very much, but instead eat ornamental plants and lay eggs back into the soil.

How Do You Know if You Need White Grub Control?

A good early indicator that you have a lawn grub problem is you may see a lot of holes in your lawn from birds or gophers feasting on these insects. Once white lawn grubs have been through an area, the grass turf will start to look unhealthy and appear in patches. Grubs in lawn can do a lot of damage by eating the grass and the grass-roots. As it starts to get hotter, you will start to notice that they are doing more and more damage. Grub control is difficult, if grubs are partially protected by the thatch layer in your lawn and the depth to which they live under the soil. It;s best to use a long-lasting pesticide to get rid of lawn grubs. Learn about organic grub control.

What Do White Lawn Grubs in Lawn Look Like?

white grubs in lawnWhite grubs are between ½ inch and 3/4 inch, although they are a little smaller in the early spring. White grubs typically live two inches under the surface of the soil. The damage caused by them will leave you with dry wilted grass with a few green patches. The damage will be most noticeable in the areas of the lawn that are the least healthy, and the areas of grass with the greatest concentration of these grubs. This website is all about helping you kill, control, and get rid of your white grubs. We have a page dedicated to Japanese Beetles, June Beetles and Masked Chafer. (Sometimes you can cut down on the chances of getting insect infestations by regularly thatching and lawn aeration).


White Grub Worms and Cutworms: Five FAQs

Q. What is the difference between white grubs and cutworms? A. Cutworms are moth larvae and white grubs are beetle larvae. Cutworms are usually a little longer (1-2 inches) than these grubs (1/2-1 inch long). White grubs are white (hence the name) while cutworms are brown or tan-colored.

Q. How do grubs in lawn affect the grass? A. Both cutworms and white grubs live in the thatch layer of the lawn during the spring and summer. This spongy layer on the soil’s surface protects them and allows them access to food and water. White grubs eat the grass-roots, causing the lawn to wilt and then dry out. This leaves the grass more likely to die when stressed, such as during heat spells and droughts. Cutworms eat the blades of the grass, killing the top first.

grubs in lawnQ. How can I tell if I have a serious problem with Grubs in the Lawn? A. A great way to spot it early is to notice if birds are putting a lot of holes into the ground, looking for these grubs to eat. Gophers will also eat them. The grass will start looking worse too, but then the problem is getting pretty bad, and wilted and dry grass can have other causes. You also know if you have white grubs in the lawn if it starts to turn yellow for no apparent reason. Also, if you can pull the grass out of the lawn very easily, it is because the white lawn grubs have eaten through the roots of the grass plant. One great way to test is to cut out a 12 by 12 inch square in your lawn. If you have more than 7 to 10 grubs per square ft., it could be fatal to your lawn and you should have your lawn treated. If you only find one or two white grubs, then it is unlikely you will even need to use grub control to get rid of them.


Q. What should I do about white lawn grubs and cutworms? A. The type of lawn grub control you use is very important. A long-lasting pesticide is best for both of these pests. Since cutworms are the most active at night, apply a contact herbicide just before it gets dark. Once they ingest the pesticide with the grass, they will die. Since white grubs burrow deeper into the ground (6” or more) in the fall and stay there through the winter, it is best to use a pesticide for them in the spring and summer months. It may take more than one application to solve the issue.

grub control

Q. Can Grub Worms Really Ruin My Lawn? A. Yes, Grub worms eat roots of your grass. When there are only a few in your lawn, they don’t do a lot of damage and most of it is self-repaired. When there are a lot of grub worms, the damage is much more extensive. Minor damage to your lawn is fixed by power raking and overseeding your lawn, but if the damage is extensive, you may want to rent a sod cutter to tear out your lawn and learn how to lay sod. It is best to treat lawn grubs right away with grub control or by organic means, to prevent them from destroying your lawn.

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FAQs About Lawn Grubs

What are Lawn Grubs?

Lawn grubs are small, worm-looking larvae growing in soil. They eat the lawn and by so doing destroy healthy grass over time. It is hard to tell right away if you have them in your lawn, it is not until patches of grass start dying and by then its too late. It is important to keep your lawn healthy so it can fight off these kind of intruders and check in the early spring and late fall for any signs of lawn grubs.

What are the most common types of lawn grubs?



types of lawn grubsThe most common types of white grubs are cutworms and white grubs. White grubs are beetle larvae and cutworms are larvae of moths. They are usually longer than white grubs and brown or tan colored, while white grubs are white (hence their name).

How do lawn grubs affect lawns?

During spring and early summer, lawn grubs live in the thatch layer of the soil. This is the layer of dead grass and debris that lays just on top of the soil. This spongy layer protects the grubs and provides adequate food and water. White grubs actually eat the roots of the grass killing it over time, while cutworms eat the blades killing the tops first and then not allowing nutrients from the sun and air to reach the roots. Over time the lawn dies and you will find yourself having to put in a whole new yard.

How can I tell if there are lawn grubs in my yard?



prevent lawn grubsTake note if birds seem to like your lawn. Most likely there is a good reason – lots of good food for them. Gophers also like grubs and you may find many gopher holes in your lawn because of them. A tell-tale sign is when the lawn starts wilting a drying out in different areas (spots throughout the lawn and not just a few spots where dogs urinated). The surest way to tell is just to check your soil regularly. Early each spring rake down into your grass and see if you can spot any grubs.

How can I prevent lawn grubs?

Keep up a healthy lawn. If you have very little or no thatch for the white grubs to live in, they will pass by your yard and move to your neighbors (although ideally you want them neighborhoods away not just neighbors away). Although you may have plenty of desirable food in good healthy green grass, grubs can survive in an environment that is perfectly warm and moist. This will not happen without thatch.

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How to Get Rid of Grub Worms in Your Lawn?

I have been a landscaper for the last nine years and I have learned a lot about grub worms. Knowing how to get rid of grubs in your lawn is easy, once you know a little bit more about them. Grub worms live underneath the surface of your soil and eat out the roots.


Most of the time when you find damage caused by grub worms, it is the lawns that are unhealthy, or it get too much water. Japanese and Asiatic beetles do most of their damage during the fall. May and June beetles do their damage during the spring and early summer. Once you know you have grubs in your lawn, it is a good idea to determine which kind you have so that you can kill them easier

The type of grass you have in your lawn is awesome because it grows both the roots and shoots from the crown of the grass. This allows your grass to grow back every time you mow it. Likewise, your grass has the ability to repair itself if the roots get eaten by grubs. The roots will simply grow back from the crown. Most of the time, the grubs don’t do enough damage to kill the lawn all on their own. But if it isn’t watered every day, then the lawn can die of drought damage because it doesn’t have very many roots left.


How to Know if You Have Grubs in Your Lawn

A lot of lawns have grubs in them, but a small percentage of lawns have so many grubs that they damage the lawn. Usually, when there are more than 8 to 10 grubs per square foot of lawn, you start to see some permanent damage.

The first test that you can use, you can simply carefully dig out an area of your soil where you think you might have grubs. As you are digging out a 12″ x 12” square, count the number of grubs that you find in the soil. Earthworms don’t count, but any type of white or gray grub does. If you find more than 8 to 10 grubs, then you need to treat your lawn with grub killer right away.

The second way to test your lawn for grubs is to saturate your lawn. Take any area of your lawn that is 3′ x 3′ square and supersaturated with water. You can count the number of grubs that rise to the top of the soil. Once you do, count them by putting them into a plastic container.

How to Get Rid of Grub Worms in Your Lawn: Three Methods

The first method that will help you get rid of lawn grubs is to apply a grub killer. Make sure that the type of grub you have is listed on the label for the pesticide. If you can, it is better to use a selective pesticide than a non-selective one. Pesticides that are also IGR ( insect growth regulators) are safer to use around pets and better for the environment. If you have a layer of fat in your lawn, you probably want to get rid of it before you apply the pesticide.

The second method that will help you get rid of Grubs is the iron maiden approach to grub control. This method is completely organic, or at least chemical free. This method is called the spikes of death. It won’t get rid of all the Grubs in the lawn, but it will get rid of a significant percentage of them. Basically, you need to wear lawn aerator shoes on your feet and walk across the lawn multiple times. Since these shoes have 2 inch spikes on the bottom, spaced every half of an inch, they can be pretty effective at killing the Grubs and turning them into useful plant fertilizer.

I have also heard people say that using beneficial nematodes is a great way to get rid of the Grubs. Nematodes are basically small worms that can be parasitic to a lot of grubs. Nematodes work best when there is a large population of grubs to serve as hosts in your lawn. The nice part is that these nematodes typically don’t affect other animals.

When you’re learning how to get rid of grub worms, the fourth way to do this is to use milky spore disease. The milky spore disease also works best when there is a large population of them in a small area. Milky spores can kill the grubs and can remain in your soil for quite a while. As long as it is in your soil, it will help serve as a deterrent to future grub infestations.


How to Prevent Grub Problem in Future

Don’t leave dog poop on your lawn. Grubs love to eat that stuff. This is one of the most common reasons why people develop grubs in their lawn. Grubs are attracted to this fecal matter and they often lay their eggs in it. Once the eggs hatch, you’ll develop a severe problem with lawn grubs.

One of the best ways to prevent grubs damage from occurring is to make sure that your lawn is really healthy. Most of the time if your lawn is healthy, the grubs are going to do enough damage to destroy it. Make sure that you fertilize your lawn at least once every other month while you are mowing it. Also, make sure that you aerate your lawn every year so that you all have stronger roots. Additionally, you want to make sure that you mow your lawn at least once every 10 days. Doing all these things will help you to have a healthier lawn, and make it a lot harder for grubs to damage it.

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How to Use Aerator Shoes to Kill White Grubs

aeration sandels and white grubsMy favorite method of killing lawn grubs actually works. It doesn’t involve the use of chemicals, and it is 100% organic. The easiest way to bring down grub populations is to walk across your lawn with a pair of spiked aerating shoes. Now, I am not a big advocate of spiked shoes for aerating your lawn. I think it is far easier and more effective to use a mechanical lawn aerator than to use the shoes to aerate with. However, they do a good job by killing grubs. This is because they usually have 2 inch spikes on the bottom and the spikes that are about a half an inch apart from one another. Most grubs tend to live between 1 inch to 3 inches below the surface of your soil. They feed on the roots of your grass.


white GrubYou can get rid of grubs in your soil by putting on a pair of lawn aerator shoes and walking across the lawn. Make sure that you walk across the areas where you have grubs three or four times. You really want to make sure to kill as many of them as possible. Even though you won’t kill all the grubs in your lawn, if you can get rid of 30 to 40%, then your lawn should start to look better and repair itself.

Make sure that if you have grubs in lawn that you keep watering your lawn regularly. As long as your grass doesn’t dry out, it will probably stay alive. If your grass dies because of grubs that have eaten all the deep roots, then you will have to tear out that part of your lawn and replace it. It is much cheaper to spend a little extra money on watering to keep it green until the grubs have left. Then, you want to put down a grub killer containing an IGR ( insect growth regulator ) to keep grub eggs from hatching, or to keep grubs from molting into adults.

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How Do White Grubs Affect Your Lawn?

lawn grubsWhite grubs can have a very devastating effect on your lawn. If you do not take care of them immediately after you realize there is a problem, they can attack the roots and ornamental parts of your lawn, and within a matter of a few months, they can completely destroy it. Lawn grubs typically will hatch their eggs during the spring. These eggs are laid by beetles or crane flies at the end of the fall. During the early spring they hatch and come to the surface of your grass to feed on the tender shoots and to the roots of your lawn. You will know that you have them in your lawn, if you start seeing your grass starting to turn yellow, and eventually become brown dead patches. The easiest way to get rid of grubs in lawn, is to apply a grub control or poison to your lawn in the early summer.


How Long Does It Take Grubs to Destroy Your Lawn?

It does not take a long time for grubs to destroy your lawn. Often, as soon as you realize you have a problem, you should get the problem treated. If you do not, then you could have more serious problems. These problems will include having to do some major repair to your lawn or replacing it in the fall, if you do not treat your lawn for grubs in the spring. If you have a serious problem with lawn grubs, it is also possible that you will have problems with gophers, and moles digging through your soil. You may also even have birds that come down and pick your soil to pieces, while they are looking for grubs to eat. Preemptive action, is the best way to prevent these problems. If you know that your neighborhood has problems with grubs, do not hesitate to put down any grub control during the late spring. This will prevent you from having as many problems with lawn grubs later on.

Why Should I Use Grub Control in My Lawn? 

  1. Lawn grub control is not something you need to do all the time. It’s not like fertilization or watering your lawn, where if you don’t do it on a regular basis, your lawn is practically guaranteed to die. However, it is important to keep your eye out for lawn grubs, because they can quickly ruin your lawn before you know you even have them. Lawn grubs live in your grassroots and as they mature into adults, they live off of eating the roots of the grass. In the early spring you don’t notice this, because first of all they are barely hatching and beginning to eat the roots, and second, even with very shallow roots, most places get enough rain in the spring time that grass can still look green and healthy.


    But as soon as it starts to warm up in late spring and into the summer, the grass will quickly die. You may have several patches throughout your lawn and dead yellow grass. At this point you have to replant the grass in this area, but you have to wait until you first get rid of the grubs. By the time you’ve noticed this problem however, the grubs are gone until the fall when they come back to your lawn to lay their eggs. So now that your lawn is already ruined, you need to decide if you’re willing to spend the money now and have it look good for this summer, or take your chances with trying to do grub control in the fall or waiting a full year to make sure and get rid of the pests before planting again.


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