How to kill grubs in your flower bed without killing your plants

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Grubs! Aargh!  Such a nuisance. They can ruin a beautiful garden or lawn in no time. That is why we are always on the lookout for ways to keep these pests off our yard.

Lucky for us, there are great organic ideas to get rid of grubs that work wonders. If you are facing the same problem, have a look at these tips that you can use to get rid of grubs naturally.

What are grubs?

Grubs, also called grub worms are the larvae of beetles. They are what you get before it develops into different types of beetles such as Scarab Beetles, June bugs, May bugs, Japanese beetles, European chafers, among others. They are fat, stubby white or grey worms about 2-inches long with a prominent brown head.

Grubs come from eggs which beetles lay in our gardens at the end of every summer. The eggs hatch and become larvae that burrows underground where they thrive on organic matter and roots throughout winter and spring.

Once they become full grown beetles in late June, they burst out of the ground and start munching on the leaves of garden plants and other foliage such as lawns. As beetles, they survive on foliage until it’s time to mate and lay eggs for the cycle to continue.

How can I tell if grubs are in my garden or lawn?

While a few grubs here and there are not so bad, an army of them will destroy your garden or lawn. That is why it’s good to get at them while they are still a small group before they become a huge problem.

You will notice that grubs are in your lawn by the browning of grass patches.  Before this, your lawn may feel spongy because they have eaten all roots underneath.

In your garden, your plants and flowers will start wilting even when you are sure they are getting enough water and nutrition.

Also, if you see your garden is being gouged by raccoons, moles, skunks or birds, then realize they are trying to get to the grubs underneath because they are so yummy and nutritious to them.

How to do a conclusive grub test in your lawn or garden

To be sure if you are dealing with grubs, pull up any brown patches of grass or wilting plants in your garden. If you find that the roots are compromised, then you have a grub problem! To really be sure, dig deeper on that spot, and you will find them lounging underneath.

During winter you will find grubs lying about eight inches into the ground. In summer they are generally easy to find just underneath the ground at a depth of about two inches.

To approximate the population of grubs in your garden or lawn, dig up a square foot of space and count the number you find there. If they are more than 10, then it means you need to deal with them. If they are less than 10, preferably about five per square foot, then they are in a fair number that you can leave as food for birds and other excellent garden life.

How do I get rid of grubs in my garden or lawn?

Firstly, keep in mind that in small quantities, grubs are beneficial for your soil. They aerate the soil and are nutritious food for pest eliminators such as birds.  However, in huge numbers, they can destroy your lawn or garden.

Most people reach for pesticides to kill grubs, which is a bit of overkill. We say it is overkill because you have to avoid chemicals as much as possible to keep from destroying beneficial garden life such as butterflies and bees. Instead, go for natural alternatives which will get the job done while saving useful garden or lawn fauna.

Natural solutions to get rid of grubs

There are several excellent natural solutions for grubs you can use for your lawn or garden.

1. Use birds and insects

Invite birds and insects that eat grubs to your garden or lawn. Some good examples are wrens, sparrows, and wasps such as the tiphiid wasps, Chalcid wasps, and Ichneumon wasps, among others.

To create a conducive atmosphere for birds, build birdhouses, and keep bird baths and create some lush foliage where they can hang out. They will not only eat all larvae from your lawn and garden, but they will also get at other bugs such as hornworms.  As a bonus, birds also create a vibrant atmosphere in your garden.

To attract wasps, plant herbs, plants, and flowers that they love. Some good examples are Sweet Fennel and Spearmint. Wasps will also eliminate other pests such as aphids. You can also introduce the wasps yourself by purchasing them from a breeder.

2. Good old tilling

You can also eradicate grubs by tilling your soil regularly. When you till your soil often, especially in the garden, it kills the grubs before they can mature. It also invites birds to come in and eat those close to the surface as you bring them up.

Till your land in spring to about two inches deep. During fall, remove all organic matter and situate your compost far away from your lawn or garden. It will ensure they don’t have enough food to eat and thrive until they can become beetles.

Before it gets cold, till the land again to bring them up to the surface and prevent hibernation. Dig deep to about 7 inches because when it’s getting cold, they burrow. Follow up two weeks later with another session to get them up again.

In spring before planting once again till to get rid of any underlying grubs. Continue this cycle, and you will reduce or even eliminate grubs from your garden altogether.

3. Milky spores

You can use milky spores to kill grubs. Milk spores are bacteria you can spread all over your lawn or garden to fight grubs. They come as granules or in a sponge which you dilute in water.

Milk spores work against beetle larvae without harming your yard or garden. Once a grub eats the milky spore, it infects the others and ultimately dies from it which is how you wipe them out.

Milky spores are a grub solution that can benefit you long term if you use them often. However, since they take at least three years to really work on the grubs, you can combine them with nematodes for a super grub fighting solution.

4. Nematodes

How about using a worm to get rid of another worm? Well, nematodes, which are tiny roundworms naturally present in the soil, are great grub fighters. They carry bacteria that is harmful to grubs.

Nematodes infect grubs with a killer disease and they, in turn, infect each other to the point they die in droves. They work well in conjunction with milk spores as a long term solution. They are also great for fighting other garden pests.

You can find beneficial nematodes at nurseries or from people who raise them for sale. They are sold as a sponge that you put in water.

Nematodes also work great against fleas for anyone whose pets always get fleas from the lawn. Make sure you introduce a batch of nematodes in your garden or lawn each year to keep their population up.

Homemade solutions for grub control

You can also make your own homemade pesticide solution to kill grubs. Here are a few options to try.

Garlic and chili peppers

Some beetles hate the smell of garlic, and so do some grubs. So make a solution of garlic in water and spray all over your lawn or garden to deter them.

If you add some mineral oil and liquid soap in this homemade pest spray, it will also kill larvae. Add some chili peppers, and you have an irritating and efficient deterrent against grubs and beetles.

Use this spray when beetles lay eggs to keep them from coming to lay eggs in your garden or lawn. They will fly off and lay their eggs somewhere else, leaving your place grub free. Use the spray repeatedly. It also works great for other garden pests too.

Neem oil

Neem is an amazing natural oil to use for grub removal. It can also prevent beetles from laying eggs on your lawn or garden. It is harmless against plants but works great to kill grubs and keep beetles away.

You simply mix some neem oil in water and spray it all over. It messes with the hormones of beetles, and other harmful insects and prevents them from mating or even laying eggs. It also disorients grubs causing them to forget to eat and eventually die.

Use a soap mixture

You can use some dawn soap or lemon- scented liquid soap to get rid of grubs. Mix one cup of soap to two cups of water. Spray your garden soil or lawn with this mixture. It will irritate the larvae and make them come up for air at which point you can pick them out by hand.

Mouthwash in water and soap also does wonders to keep beetles away and prevent them from laying eggs.

Bring in the experts!

Not everyone has the time or the determination to deal with garden and lawn pests using the grub eradication tips listed above. They just want the grubs out and life back to normal with no worries. Pest control services provide that peace of mind.

A pest expert will not only help you eradicate grubs from your garden or lawn but also help you keep them off for a long time. Many of them will use natural solutions for clients that do not want chemicals in their garden. That’s why they are pest experts, they know their way around any pest you can think of. Try one!

These are a few ways you can get rid of grubs from your garden. Whichever option you choose to deal with grubs in your garden or lawn, we recommend you do it fast and well. You don’t want them to destroy your lawn or garden, do you?