Lawn Grubs: What are They and How to Kill Them

Lawn Care & Landscape

Known as white grubs or grub worms, these plump white worms found in soil are actually scarab beetle larva. Although harmless to pets and people, the immature stage of these insects can be a nuisance to your yard and cause severe damage to your lawn root system.

How to Know if you Have Grubs

Damage to your lawn: Grub damage can resemble drought-stress, with yellow patches of dried turf showing up in your lawn. Severe damage from grubs can completely destroy the roots, allowing you to pull out clumps of grass with little resistance or even be able to “roll” grass back from the topsoil. This level of damage will likely require treatment during the summer months.

Damage from other animals: One of the easiest ways to know if you have lawn grubs comes from signs of damage not from the grubs themselves, but from larger critters who dig up your lawn to find them. Common in Texas, armadillos are known lawn pests that will claw up divots in your lawn and flower beds looking for grubs. Skunks and raccoons have also been known to feast on grubs and will leave holes in your yard to prove it. Keeping a pest-free yard starts with controlling your grub population.

The One-Square-Foot Test: A gardening technique that some pest control experts rely on is known as the one-square-foot test. Pull up the grass from the roots within a single square foot to expose the soil. If more than 5-6 grubs are present, then treatment may be needed. 


When and How to Treat

Chemical insecticides: Not all lawns need to be treated on an annual basis. However, if you have noticed any signs of damage to your lawn, the most common form of treatment is a chemical insecticide. Because grubs typically are dormant over the winter, springtime treatments are largely ineffective. It’s best to wait until the grubs reach at least ½” in length for the insecticides to be effective. 

Apply treatment during the heat of the summer (June for south Texas and Florida; July or early August for North Texas). It’s best to mow your lawn ahead of time, as well as water in at least ¼-½” the day prior. The moist soil will encourage the grubs to come to the surface for the treatment to be more effective. 

Organic treatment: A biological option to chemical treatment is the application of nematodes. This tends to be a more expensive and often more difficult treatment option, with more experience needed in understanding the handling, shipment and application of nematodes. 

Prevention: Even if you notice lawn grubs in the spring, the best course of action is prevention - removing thatch and aerating your lawn. Thatch is often the first location grubs are found as these larval insects feed on the decaying roots and plant material. Removing thatch is a great deterrent and preventive method for lawn grubs. If thatch has accumulated to the point of compacting your lawn, aeration may be the best course of action. We shared previously why aeration is important and when is the best time to aerate. 

OneNeighbor service experts have years of combined experience to ensure your aeration methods are done correctly, timely and in a way that most benefits the growth of your lawn. See how OneNeighbor can help with your aeration, fertilization and other lawn care needs in Dallas/ Fort Worth, TX, Tampa Bay, FL and Houston, TX


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