How to Get Rid of Grub Worms

How to Get Rid of Grub Worms

Sod University

Grub Worm Control: How to Get Rid of and Prevent Grub Worms

In a previous Sod University post, we discuss eight surface level questions about the grub worm that include, “What is a grub worm?”, “What do grub worms look like?”, and “Where do grub worms live?” As a follow-up to this previous blog, Sod University takes an even deeper look at the grub worm. Once you learn more about the grub worm and are able to accurately identify a grub worm infestation, you can then begin strategizing ways to get rid of them and prevent future infestations.

Habitat & Characteristics

First off, it is important to know that grub worms, the larvae form of billbugs and scarab beetles, can be found in lawns and gardens of North America—especially in Florida’s humid temperate conditions. Since Florida doesn’t endure harsh winters, grub worms can thrive and multiply all year long. Grub worms, also called masked chafers, can be found in the soil and damaging lawns by feeding on grass roots. Grub worms range from a quarter inch to two inches in length, and are easy to identify with their cream-colored bodies. They have six legs and a dark-tinted abdomen due to soil particles showing through their exoskeleton. At the adult stage, grub worms turn into beetles that emerge from the soil to eat the leaves of your grass and other plants in your garden. 

Signs of Infestation

Although grub worms can be found in some cool season grasses like fescues, ryes, and bluegrasses, they like to infest warm season grasses such as zoysia, Bermudagrass, St. Augustine, and buffalograss. A common sign of infestation is the increased presence of digging or burrowing pests—for example, moles. Burrowing mammals are likely after the source of grub worms within the soil. Another sign of infestation may be the appearance of weeds. As grub worms feed on the root system in your lawn or garden, it becomes weaker and makes it hard for your garden or lawn to outcompete weeds with. Lastly, dying or a damaged area of grass may be caused by grub worms. Since the root system and plant bed has become weaker, grass may feel spongy or easy to lift up like a piece of carpet.

The absolute best way to identify a grub worm problem is to actually see a fair amount of grub worms in your soil. Examine several soil selections throughout your lawn and garden sized three to four inches in length and four inches in depth. If you find more than five grub worm per square foot, treatment is imperative.

Treatment & Prevention

Once you have detected and identified grub worm activity, a treatment and prevention strategy is necessary. The best time to treat grub worms is in the late summer or early fall, as they are still small and near the soil surface during their lifespan. They are less vulnerable to treatment in the spring since they are larger and no longer feeding as much. See the image below for more details.

Here are some of Sod Solution’s recommendations for the late summer/early fall treatment:

If you are encountering a grub worm infestation in the early spring, we recommend:

If you were able to out-rule grub worms as a problem but ran into a different kind of insect or pest, learn more about insect identification here: Insect Identification.

To learn more about generalized lawn insect control, check our Lawn Insect Control blog.

Want to learn more about achieving a great lawn? Check out our other Sod University tips here.

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

There are no products