Have you noticed dead patches of grass popping up in your lawn? While too much heat, excess humidity, over-watering, and turf diseases are likely causes, it could be something else entirely too.
At the same time, it’s plausible that your lawn might be suffering from a grub infestation.
However, before you start looking for ways to kill grubs, it is essential to understand what you are dealing with by identifying grub worms.
If you start treatment without proper identification, you might end up wasting precious time and money.
Let’s show you how to confirm if the slimy, disgusting grub worms are destroying your lawn.
Moreover, we will reveal the best grub killer available to reclaim your happy place.
Related post: Seasonal Lawn Care Guide and Tips
Table of Contents
- 1 What Is a Grub Worm?
- 2 How Grub Worms Damage Your Lawn?
- 3 How to Identify Grub Infestations
- 4 Five Best Grub Killers for Grub Control
- 4.1 Best Overall Grub Killer: Scotts GrubEx1
- 4.2 Best Comprehensive Grub Control Product: Bonide (BND60360) – Insect And Grub Control
- 4.3 Best Budget-Friendly Grub Killer: Ortho Home Defense Insect Killer For Lawns Granules
- 4.4 Best Organic Grub Control Product: St. Gabriel Organics 80010-9 Milky Spore Powder
- 4.5 Best Fast-Acting Grub Killer: BioAdvanced Granules 700745S 24 Hour Grub Killer
- 5 FAQ
- 6 Conclusion
- 7 References
What Is a Grub Worm?
Grub worms, also known as white grubs, are thick-bodied sluggish larvae of certain beetles, including Japanese beetles, June-beetles, or chafers.
They live underground in the soil beneath your grass and feed on its roots.
Lawn grubs are creamy white, with an orangey-brown head and six legs right at the front of their body.
They can vary in size from 3/8 of an inch to two inches.
Another significant feature of the grub worm is that they are usually (but not always) curled up in a C shape.
The three pairs of legs near the head distinguish grubs from other larvae.
Even though they aren’t technically worms, they can do a lot of damage by feeding on the roots of your grass.
Thankfully, there are many pesticides available for grub control that don’t harm beneficial insects.
How Grub Worms Damage Your Lawn?
Needless to say, grub infestations are a major threat to your grass and can be a nuisance too.
They damage your lawn by greedily feeding on the roots of your grass. Ultimately, the grass isn’t able to absorb any nutrients from the soil and dies.
Adult female beetles lay their eggs mid-summer. As the larvae hatch after ten days, they start feeding.
So, most of the damage takes place in late summer and fall. As winter approaches, they burrow deeper and hibernate.
Therefore, the best time to apply insecticides to kill grubs is when they come near the surface to feed again, i.e., early summer.
You can conveniently kill young grubs and prevent more from developing.
If not treated, they eventually turn into adult beetles who feast on your beloved plants.
How to Identify Grub Infestations
Here are the telltale signs that help you identify whether your lawn has a grub problem or is infested with other insects.
Only then should you begin looking for grub control products.
Dead brown grass that rolls like a carpet with a slight pull is the first sign of grub damage.
Since the grass-roots are eaten away, it begins to feel almost spongy to the touch.
As you walk on it, you might feel your foot sinking even if the grass looks perfectly green and healthy.
Other critters feeding on your grass
If you notice more than the usual activity of skunks, crows, raccoons, and moles on your lawn, it may signify they are feasting on their favorite snack (grubs).
More moths are hovering around your lawn
Tiny moths might be looking for a place to lay eggs and start up a family on your lawn.
This is an early sign that their babies (grubs) might come knocking at any time.
More than ten grubs per square foot
The simplest way to check for grubs is to make a one-square-foot cut in your lawn, about 2-4 inches deep in a few places.
Flip these over and count the number of grubs you see. It’s okay to have a few grubs on your lawn at any given time.
However, if you see more than ten grubs per square foot, it signifies you need pest control.
Five Best Grub Killers for Grub Control
Once you have established what you are dealing with, the next step is grub control followed by prevention.
Here is a list of the top grub control products to help you deal with the grass-munching insects in the least damaging way.
Best Overall Grub Killer: Scotts GrubEx1
- One application in the spring or early summer kills and prevents grubs for...
- Helps prevent root damage caused by insects for a stronger lawn
- Prevents turf damage by killing grubs when they are young
The Scotts GrubEx1 is perhaps one of the best grub killers on the market. Let’s elaborate on why this product has managed to snag the first spot on our list.
First, it’s available in two sizes: suitable for 5000 square feet and 10000 square feet.
The best grub killer must not only kill grubs, but also deal with other harmful insects, which is exactly what the Scott GrubEx1 is manufactured to do.
It puts down Japanese beetles, May/June-beetles, caterpillars, and suppresses chinch bugs.
The Scotts GrubEx1 is 25% more potent than the original GrubEx, making it much better equipped to help you with grub control.
The best time to apply this season-long grub killer is Spring to Early Summer. This is the best time to kill grubs because some are hatching, and others are still developing.
For best results, use Scott’s Broadcast Spreaders, Elite Spreader, or Classic Drop Spreader. Then water your lawn generously.
Water will help the granules dissolve and penetrate deep into the soil, killing grubs at any stage of their life cycle.
If used preventatively at the right time, you won’t need another application for an entire year.
On the other hand, if you apply this pesticide after the damage has begun, it will suffice for four months before another application is needed.
Thankfully, the smart pesticide will not kill earthworms, nematodes, beneficial bugs, or healthy soil bacteria, nor will it burn grass or plants.
Nevertheless, since it is essentially a chemical, avoid using it in your vegetable garden.
Some consumers have had issues with the pellets not dissolving even after thorough watering and rain. That is a serious safety hazard.
While we are not entirely sure why this happened, we can chalk it up to inconsistent batches.
The active ingredient, Chlorantraniliprole, is a preventative compound and takes time to reach the grubs.
Therefore, it won’t work unless you apply it in the window prescribed by the manufacturer.
Best Comprehensive Grub Control Product: Bonide (BND60360) – Insect And Grub Control
- INSECT KILLER - This pest control is great for use on species of ant,...
- PROTECT YOUR LAWN AND HOME - Insect and Grub Control is designed for fast...
- TOP TO BOTTOM PROTECTION - Product offers complete insect control for the...
Some pesticides target only the grub larvae while having no effect on other bugs attacking your lawn. Others end up harming beneficial insects.
Thankfully, Bonide Insect and Grub Control exterminates all harmful insects above and below ground without wrecking the ecosystem.
This is possible due to the combination of two active ingredients: Imidacloprid and Lambda-Cyhalothrin.
The former provides a systematic action, while the latter is famous for speedy pest control.
Thus, the 24-hour grub killer is highly effective and protects your lawn till the end of the season.
Within 24 hours, prepare for a massacre and be ready to pick up the carcasses of billbugs, chinch bugs, European Crane Fly, Fire ants, fleas, ticks, and grubs.
By default, you will have no more moles burrowing your lawn because there will be no food for them.
The 6-pound grub killer will cover up to 7500 square feet of space. Spread it on your lawn using a spreader and lightly water it to allow proper penetration.
Additionally, it works great as a boundary treatment around your premises for added protection.
Some people have noted a decline in the number of earthworms following the application of Bonide Grub Control.
However, this issue is debatable since the active ingredients are not harmful to earthworms or other beneficial insects.
Best Budget-Friendly Grub Killer: Ortho Home Defense Insect Killer For Lawns Granules
- Ortho Home Defense Insect Killer for Lawns Granules is an outdoor insect...
- FAST ACTING: Starts creating a bug barrier within minutes to kill listed...
- LONG-LASTING CONTROL: Kill outdoor pests before they come into your home...
Strengthened with the power of Bifenthrin, Ortho Home Defense is one of the best insect killers on the market.
So if you’re suffering from lawn damage due to grubs, ants, fleas, ticks, spiders, or chinch bugs, you might want to give this product a try.
Just be sure to follow instructions properly, and it won’t harm your pets or birds.
It is available in four size options so that you can select a size according to your space.
The 10-pound bag is suitable to protect 10,000 square feet for three months. It also protects your home from insect invasion when used as a perimeter boundary.
It is suitable for use in residential lawns, vegetable gardens(limited), and home foundations to keep away lawn pests.
If you are not fully satisfied, you can ask for a full refund, no questions asked.
While it may be the best-priced grub killer on the market, a few consumers have complained that it did not work for them.
Yet, we are unsure if the application technique or infestation intensity reduces its chances of success.
Best Organic Grub Control Product: St. Gabriel Organics 80010-9 Milky Spore Powder
- 20 Lb. Milky Spore, Grub Control Spreader Mix
- Organic Compound That Attacks Larvae Of Japanese Beetles
- Apply With Spreader Anytime From Spring Through Fall
If Japanese beetles are haunting your lawn, kill them once and for all using St. Gabriel’s organic milky spore powder.
The milky spore powder is a 100% eco-friendly microscopic bacteria that targets only beetles.
The slimy insects feed on the roots of your lawn, turf, and the entire landscape. When the bacteria attack the beetles, it starts to reproduce.
The more the beetles, the more effective the milky spore disease is. Consequently, the bacteria multiply and reach full strength within three years.
Since it is not a chemical pesticide, it’s completely safe for humans and pets. You can safely use it near a body of water since the runoff is non-damaging.
Apply in a checker-board pattern, one teaspoon full every four feet for best results. Accordingly, it is the best natural solution to your grub problem.
On the negative side, the organic treatment only targets the Japanese beetle, and you will still have to apply other pesticides if your lawn has a full-on grub infestation.
Unfortunately, many other turf-eating insects can damage your lawn.
Moreover, the milky spore powder takes up to 3 to 5 years to become strong enough to prevent all grubs.
It is also important to note that the milky spore will not work if there are few grubs to spread the disease (bacteria).
Best Fast-Acting Grub Killer: BioAdvanced Granules 700745S 24 Hour Grub Killer
- 24-HOUR GRUB KILLER: Delivers overnight results by killing grubs in 24...
- PLUS INSECT KILLER: Also kills Ants, Ticks, Billbugs, Chinch Bugs,...
- PREVENTS LAWN DAMAGE: Use at the first sign of grubs to stop further lawn...
Let’s be clear that this 24-hour grub killer isn’t a natural solution. Rather, it has a unique active ingredient: Trichlorfon (9.3%). And that is why it works!
Sometimes you need a grub control pesticide that can work magic overnight; for that, you need a strong chemical.
Besides grubs, it kills European Crane Fly larvae, Mole Crickets, millipedes, scorpions, grasshoppers, and many other bugs that attack your grass and flowers.
What’s wonderful about this grub killer is that it works great on grubs that have started feeding, and not just as a preventative measure.
In addition, it’s EPA certified, meaning that it is safe for you and the environment.
Therefore, we believe it is the best grub killer product on the market that shows immediate results.
On the negative side, Trichlorfon is moderately toxic to humans and pets if ingested or through skin contact.
Therefore, you must use safety precautions while using the insecticide.
How Do You Get Get Rid Of Grubs Naturally?
If you want to control grubs using only organic options, you can use beneficial nematodes or neem oil.
Beneficial nematodes are tiny parasitic worms that release bacteria into the soil, which kills grubs.
While it may work slowly, one application will prevent grubs for three years.
Additionally, you can also spray neem oil on the infected area.
What Active Ingredient Is A Grub Killer?
Active ingredients that are grub killers:
What Is The Best Time To Treat For Grubs?
The best time to treat for grubs is when you see the first signs of infestation. In particular, mid-summer when the grubs come up to feed.
As a preventative measure, the insecticide should be applied in early summer. Once winter approaches, the grubs tunnel down to go dormant. No treatments will work at that point.
It is also important to note that certain active ingredients are curative while others are preventative. So, for the best results, follow the instructions on the label correctly.
Grub damage can prove to be a nuisance for gardeners if left untreated. Thankfully, using the right grub killers is enough to combat the issue.
Scotts GrubEx1 is our favorite out of the lot because it provides both curative and effective preventative control throughout the season.
Moreover, like other granular grub killers, the application is effortless.
We hope our review helped you select the best turf-protecting pesticide.
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David Smitley, Terry Davis and Erica Hotchkiss, Michigan State University, Department of Entomology – May 22, 2020, Michigan State University Extension How to Choose and When to Apply Grub Control Products for Your Lawn
Lindsey Hyland grew up in Arizona where she studied at the University of Arizona’s Controlled Environment Agriculture Center. She continued her gardening education by working on organic farms in both rural and urban settings. She started UrbanOrganicYield.com to share gardening tips and tactics. She’s happy to talk about succulents and houseplants or vegetables and herbs – or just about anything in a backyard garden or hydroponics garden.