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Controlling White Grubs Naturally

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Controlling White Grubs Naturally

What are white grubs?

white grub

White grubs are the larvae stage of the Common Chafer, European Chafer, Japanese Beetle, Asiatic Garden Beetle, Black Vine Weevil, Strawberry Root Weevil, plus May & June Beetles. These grubs are soft and white, with a C-shaped body. They can be from a quarter inch to 3 inches long. You'll find them just under the soil, eating grass roots. As the roots die, your grass wilts and turns brown. Another sign of grub damage is holes dug in your lawn. These are made at night, by skunks digging for grubs to eat.

White Grub Treatments

Beneficial Nematodes

Beneficial nematodes are naturally occurring, earth friendly, microscopic worms. They enter beneficial nematodesthe grubs and release a chemical that kills them. The bodies are then used as food for new nematodes.

You can get nematodes at your local garden center. As nematodes have a fairly short shelf life, about a month when stored in a fridge, the garden center may need to order them for you.

Apply nematodes once the soil temperature has reached 13-16C (about 60 F). Water the lawn first. Then water in the nematodes. Water the lawn for the next couple of days to move the nematodes down to the level of the grubs in the soil. You can apply nematodes in July when the grubs do their worst damage or in the spring once the weather is warm. For heavy infestations, apply twice a year. Treat the whole lawn, not just patches. For more info, see our section on: What are Nematodes

Companion Plants

Larkspur and geraniums appear to be toxic to white grubs and can be used in smaller, local areas.

Predatory Birds

Attract beetle eating birds to your yard with flowers, shrubs and trees for food and shelter. Birds that consume adult beetles include downy woodpecker, evening grosbeaks, white breasted nuthatches and juncos.

Maintain a healthy lawn and you'll be able to support a few grubs without seeing any damage. Treat the soil with compost and don't cut the grass shorter than 3 inches. Mulch the grass to feed the nitrogen to the lawn and help decompose the thatch. See our section on creating a healthy lawn.

 

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