How to Remove White Grubs from Lawns

White grubs are the larvae of various beetles that feed on the fibrous roots of turf grass. The chewing away will cause the grass to wilt and turn brown. They are some of the most difficult lawn pests to deal with.[1]


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    Keep your lawn healthy. This is the best deterrent against white grubs. This means fertilizing it regularly, mulching the lawn, not mowing it too short and preferring drought tolerant species when you live in dry conditions.
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    Aerate well. Beetles are much more fond of compacted soil for laying their eggs; disturbed soil is less likely to attract them.
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    Water deeply once a week. Water to a depth of 2.5 cm / 1 inch soaking. This ensures the health and strength of your lawn.
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    Check for signs of white grub infestation. As the grubs eat the grass roots, the grass turns brown and wilts. The grass area will become soft and spongy and it will be easy to lift back the turf, which you should do to see the presence of the grubs.[2] Other animals such as birds and skunks will probably be attracted to your lawn and will damage the turf lifting it to get at the grubs. It is important to try to determine the species of the grubs, as different treatments provide differing levels of effectiveness dependent on the grub type.
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    Use milky spore. This is a natural solution in granular form. Spread the granules around the lawn. The spores in the granules attack the larvae and kill them. The residual effect lasts for many years.[3] Note, however, that this disease only affects Japanese beetle grubs and is not considered effective on other types of grubs.[4]
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    Use nematodes. These can be used on certain grub species. Follow the instructions on the label when applying. Insect parasitic nematodes need careful handling and fast use as they are living beings. Some are more effective than others; do your research before purchasing.[5]
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    Use the "spikes of death". This methods is one of my favorites because it is so simple to do and good for the environment. All you need to do is to use lawn aerator shoes (that really don't work for aerating your lawn) and walk across your lawn four or five times. Aerator shoes have small spikes that are 2 inches long and about half of an inch apart. Since most of your grubs tend to live 1/2 inch to 2.5 inches below the surface of your soil and eat the roots out on your grass, walking across your lawn is a good way to control the population. These spikes are safe to use around pets and the best part is you don't have to use any pesticides to get rid of the grubs.
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    Try a mixture of diatomaceous earth mixed with soap powder at a rate of 6 to 9 kg per 100 m2. Alternately, use a tablespoonful of pyrethrum dissolved in 4 L of water. Spread either one of these mixtures across the infected area of the lawn.
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    Help the lawn resist the cold. Apply a potassium rich fertilizer such as seaweed over the lawn during autumn/fall. This will help to keep the lawn strong and healthy for the warmer seasons.
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    Use commercially produced chemical formulas. Ask at your local garden center for advice on what is available. This is not recommended though, as use of chemicals has wide-ranging impacts on the healthy life in the lawn, its surrounds and on your children, family, and pets.


  • If you are growing potatoes and carrots, white grubs can often be found feeding on these also.[6]

Things You'll Need

  • Knowledge of white grub infestation and type of white grub
  • Appropriate response items as listed in article
  • Fertilizer and manure for a healthy lawn

Sources and Citations

  1. Health Canada, White Grubs - Pest Note.
  2. Health Canada, White Grubs - Pest Note.
  3. Eartheasy, Natural Lawn Care
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Article Info

Categories: Lawn Care