If your lawn is full of unexplained dry and dead patches of grass, then grubs might be the reason. Grubs live beneath the surface of the lawn, so their presence is hard to spot, but their effect is not! If you have a grub problem, your first thought is how you can get rid of them. In this article, we’re examining a variety of safe, effective ways to kill grubs.
Best Non-Toxic Grub Killers
In this section, we’re outlining the best natural alternatives for grub control. These options are safe alternatives to what is traditionally a product high in chemicals. Let’s take a look at the top options available:
1. Gabriel’s Milky Spore (BEST OVERALL)
For our first product, we’ve chosen Gabriel’s Milky Spore. Milky Spore is a great option because it is chemical-free, and won’t harm your lawn, pets, or other insects. Gabriel’s Milky Spore claims that it won’t harm birds, bees, beneficial insects, fish, animals, plants, or humans!
Milky spore is spread onto a lawn. The mixture contains bacterium which are known as milky spore. The grubs actually consume the bacterium, and it reproduces inside their bodies, killing the grub.
We particularly like Gabriel’s Milky Spore because it’s completely organic, highly effective, and you get a big bag to put on your lawn. This bag covers 7000 sq. ft. Application is easy, just mix with spreader and apply anytime from Spring to Fall (the time when grubs worms are developing).
This takes our top overall pick because it is efficient, organic, cost-effective, and, most importantly, it works.
- Won’t harm plants, other insects, animals, or humans.
- Highly effective – grubs consumer the milky spore.
- Covers 7000 sq. ft.
- Easy to apply.
- Apply any time from Fall-Spring.
- Not as cost effective as non-organic solutions.
2. Beneficial Nematodes
Beneficial nematodes are one of the best, all-natural ways to handle grub problems. Beneficial nematodes are actually microscopic predators for all major species of lawn grubs. Best of all, they are safe for lawns, pets, humans, and many other insects!
Beneficial nematodes are actually worm-like parasites who hunt out and certain pests, including white grubs. It sounds gross, but any product you buy will just look like powder.
It is actually incredibly easy to apply. You just mix the powder with a spray and spray it on your lawn. They are applied in the late spring so they are present on your lawn throughout the grub-growing season. They are best applied when your lawn is moist, so it’s best to water before and after!
The one downside is that nematodes are quite hard to find online. Because they are living parasites, it might be best to visit a reputable lawn & garden store to pick some up. You want to be sure they are good quality or they won’t work properly.
- Highly effective at killing grubs and various pests.
- Safe for humans, pets, plants, and many other non-pest insects.
- Easy application – mix with water and spray on.
- Difficult to find online due to living nature of product. Would be best to visit a lawn & garden store.
3. Neem Oil
Neem oil is known for its various useful applications for pest and insect control, and it’s also quite useful for controlling grubs as well.
Neem is a natural substance, and is taken from the seeds of an evergreen tree. This makes its usage safe for humans, pets, plants, and more. It’s all natural, so you don’t have to worry about harmful chemicals or other ingredients!
And best of all, neem oil helps to kill grubs. Applying it to your lawn in the Spring is a great way to help repel pesky grubs.
We particularly like this Organic Choice Neem Oil. It’s an all-natural, organic brand of quality neem oil for its many usages. It’s 100% cold-pressed, without the use of heat or chemical additives at any point throughout the process! It has a high Azadirachtin content, which is an ingredient in neem oil responsible for much of its effectiveness.
This can be used for indoor or outdoor plants, and it is a simple spray application.
- Effective and cost-efficient.
- Great for a variety of uses.
- Also an effective insecticide.
- All-natural and safe.
- 100% cold pressed.
- Not quite as effective as other options. Should be used alongside other grub control methods.
Other Options for Grubs
NOTE: These options cannot be considered non-toxic. So you need to be sure to use them at your own risk. That being said, these are highly effective at killing grubs. Be sure to thoroughly evaluate the ingredients of these formulas to decide whether they are right for you.
Let’s get this out of the way, this isn’t a 100% all-natural grub solution. It does contain the active ingredient of Chlorantraniliprole. That being said, it is highly effective, so we have included it on our list.
Sometimes your grub problem is so bad that you want to go with effectiveness above all else, and GrubEX is one of the most popular products on the market for a reason.
This is touted as a season-long grub killer, which means it keeps grubs at bay for 4 months. One application in the spring is all you need, and application is quite straight-forward. Apply to a dry lawn and then water thoroughly for best results. Best of all, you only need to apply once a year.
GrubEX prevents damage by killing grubs while they are young. It is advertised for Japanese Beetles, but works for other grubs as well.
It’s not an all-natural solution, but it does work. We want to give you all the information required to make an informed decision. So if you’re at the end of your rope with your grub issue, this is a tested product that gets results.
- It works, great for killing grubs while young.
- Only apply once a season!
- Covers 10,000 square feet.
- Highly affordable.
- Not an all-natural solution.
Lawn Grub Buying Guide
In this section, we’ll give you everything you need to know about lawn grubs, proper preventative measures, and how to choose a lawn grub control product among the options above. Let’s start with the basics:
What Are Lawn Grubs?
Lawn grubs are larval scarabs. The most common lawn grubs are different species of beetles, which are members of the scarab family. An adult beetle will lay eggs beneath the soil of your lawn, and that egg will develop into a larval grub, which will live beneath your soil until it matures into an adult beetle.
Lawn grubs are quite easily identified by their white color with an orange head, and 6 legs. They are slick and slimy, and often curled up into a C-shape. They resemble small worms, but they are not worms.
Lawn grubs in North America are generally one of four types of beetles – the Japanese Beetle, May/June Beetles, Oriental Beetles, or Masked Chafers.
How Do Lawn Grubs Cause Damage to Your Lawn?
While many insects and critters that live in your lawn and garden won’t do particular damage, lawn grubs are definitely an exception. Lawn grubs live beneath your grass, and actually feed on the roots of the grass. Needless to say, this kills much of the grass, which is what results in dying or brown patches of lawn.
It is important to note that the problems are only noticeable when you have a significant grub problem (about 15+ grubs/sq. ft.). A healthy lawn can handle a fair number of grubs before it starts to show.
Preventing Grubs Without Chemicals
Perhaps the most effective way to deal with grubs is to remedy this situation before it even starts. The most natural, safe, and non-toxic way to deal with your grub problem is to take preventative measures before the grubs become an issue. Here are some lawn-care tips to take preventative action against pesky grubs:
- Watering Patterns: This one is a bit of a tricky tip. Grubs live in the soil beneath your lawn, and they need moisture to thrive and grow. Therefore, not watering your lawn will starve the grubs and make them less able to develop. Of course, you don’t want to stop watering your lawn. A better solution is to stop overwatering your lawn. If you’re watering your lawn every day, try switching to a less frequent watering schedule during the late summer (which is the time when grubs are developing).
- Lawn Cutting: Preventing grubs isn’t just about handling the grubs under the surface, it’s about preventing beetles from laying eggs in the first place. No eggs = no grubs. One way to do so is to keep your grass a little bit longer (3-4 inches). This is because beetles prefer sun exposure to lay their eggs. If your lawn is a bit longer, it will not offer the sun exposure that these beetles prefer, and they will find a more attractive location for egg-laying.
- Your Soil Type: The type of soil you use for your lawn can have a big impact on grubs. This is because beetles prefer to lay their eggs in certain soils. Beetles prefer lighter soils, and might be deterred if you use a more compact, denser soil. Consider a clay-based soil for this purpose.
Buying Guide to Grub Control Products
Before we wrap up our article, here’s a quick buyer’s guide to help you choose from all the products on our list. Choosing a grub control method can be difficult, so evaluate these factors to make the best decision for you:
Since our website is about all-natural solutions to everyday problems, the ingredients in your grub killer of choice are going to be a big factor in which one you choose.
Above, we gave you several all-natural options that won’t harm plants, pets, people, other insects, and more. We evaluated each option carefully, so that you can make the best choice for your own needs!
That being said, we can’t lie to you and say that you aren’t sacrificing some degree of effectiveness by choosing these options. Sometimes, the most effective solution to kill grubs will contain chemicals. This is why we also included GrubEX on the list, so that you can make the decision that best suits you.
In line with the section directly above, we have to be up front by telling you that the all-natural vs. chemical grub killer distinction will make a difference to effectiveness.
That being said, many of the all-natural solutions on our list are highly effective. We recommend giving the milky spore a shot before resorting to a chemical solution. It is more than enough for many common grub issues.
Length of Protection
Another factor you’ll want to consider is length of protection. This is one of the main considerations in evaluating the “value” of your choice. Of course, it’s best to go for a product that offers the longest protection possible, to avoid repetitive applications.
That being said, you also have to balance this against the effectiveness of the grub killer, as mentioned above.
Thanks for reading through our list. As you can see, grub problems are rather complicated, and it gets even more complicated when you seek out an all-natural solution, free of chemicals. But the end result is worth it!
We gave you our top picks for all-natural grub control solutions (as well as one chemical option). Our goal has been to give you all the information you need to decide among these options, and also to help you prevent grub infestations before they develop!