How to spot grubs. Natural and effective ways to eliminate grubs in your yard
Grubs. We’ve all seen them. Looking somewhat like a fat white caterpillar, grubs are easily identified by their curious habit of curling into a crescent or “C” shape. Grubs are actually the larvae of June bugs and Japanese beetles. They can range in size from a quarter of an inch to over one inch long. They pose no danger or health risk to humans, but the same can’t be said about our lawns. The favorite food of the grub is grass roots. However, grubs will eat the roots of other small plants as well. So, having grubs in your yard can have far more reaching effects than just patches of brown grass.
If you find yourself with an infestation of grubs in your lawn or garden, the situation can be worsened if not brought under control. Grubs, you see, are a favorite meal for moles. With an adequate supply of food from a grub infestation, you will soon be spotting mole runs and mounds all over your yard. And, the threat doesn’t stop there. Grubs are also a favorite of raccoons, skunks and a host of other animals that will tear your yard to shreds trying to dig up dinner. Not to mention that having these kinds of critters hanging around your property could pose a safety hazard to your family and pets.
Hard to believe such an innocuous looking creature could be the root of so much destruction and danger. But, as bad as all this sounds, your lawn and your small plants can be safe from this insidious bug. All you have to do is be watchful, diligent and ready to strike at the first sign of trouble. Grubs are fairly easy to control and will not necessarily require the use of dangerous chemicals.
Grubs are usually found just below the surface, near the newer more tender roots. The presence of grubs is generally identifiable by patches of brown grass in your lawn. If you think you have grubs, find out for sure by cutting a one-foot square section of the yard that is suspect. Starting at one edge, try to pull the sod up. If it peels back from the ground easily, you probably have grubs. If there are more than 4 or 5 grubs visible in this area, you indeed have a grub infestation that needs to be addressed.
Like many other insects that invade our space, grubs find their way into our lawns because we provide a good environment for them to live and grow. Lawns with thinner grass or that have been cut short are most susceptible. Counter-intuitively, if a lawns grass is too thick, the grub will steer clear. Also, Lawns that are cut shorter than 2 inches are more likely to get grubs than a lawn that is kept a bit longer. This is because the adults don’t care for taller grass when laying eggs. Over seeding your yard and allowing it to grow to at least 2 inches, will help prevent the intrusion of grubs. Another environmental contribution we make for the grubs is watering our lawns. Grubs require a moist environment. Frequent watering of the lawn helps provide this to the grub. An alternative to daily watering is to water less frequently but more deeply.
Even if you have done all you can to minimize a favorable environment for the grubs, they may still end up in your yard. If this happens, there are a number of ways to deal with these little pests before they do any real damage. If you have read any of my other articles, you know I am always in favor of a natural means of eliminating pests when possible. Grubs are no exception and can easily be removed using all natural methods.
One method of ridding your lawn of grubs is to introduce nematodes to your yard. These little microscopic worms will seek out and attach themselves to grubs, then transmit a bacteria that will dissolve the grub internally. The result is nematode dinner. These worms are of no threat to humans or pets and are easily broadcast over your lawn via a spray. This method is good for a spot or one time treatment.
For a more permanent solution to your grub problem, think bacteria. There is a strain of bacteria called Paenibacillus popilliae that has been used successfully in the elimination of grubs and is sold under the name “Milky Spore”. The street name is derived from the disease of the same name, which is caused in grubs that have been exposed to this bacteria. The bacteria only affects grubs and is completely harmless to not only humans and pets, but is also harmless to most other benificial insects. Broadcasting is done with either a dry powder or by spray application. Repeated use will, over time, build up the bacteria in your lawn, which can protect it for several years.
Finally, if you keep the Junebugs and Japanese Bettles out of your lawn in the first place, your grub problem will be solved before it starts. One of the best ways to keep the beetles out of your yard is to create an environment that draws in their preditors, namely toads and birds. Birds will hunt down these tastey treats by day and the toads will snap them up by the truck loads all night. So, build yourself a little pond for the toads and some houses for the birds. Now sit back and enjoy the bubbling water, the singing birds and a beautiful green lawn.
About Ron Warner
I have never been satisfied with things as they are. Yes I suffer from the "Grass is Greener Syndrome". I have been a ditch digger and the GM of a mortgage company. I have worked as a fry cook, Branch Manager for a major Stock Brokerage firm, a roofer, a car salesman, an IT Network Admin, a landscaper, a radio DJ and the list goes on. 30 years of exposure to such a variety of professions and vocations has given me a wealth of knowledge and a unique insight of the world around us. My family and I have enjoyed the savings I have experienced by being able to do many things for myself rather than needing to hire someone else to do the job. True, some may refer to me as a job hopper. But how many computer geeks can roof their house? What does a car salesman know about investing? Know any Stock Brokers who can change a water heater? Yeah, I did not think so. Yes, Life has been good so far.