Grubs can turn into a homeowner’s worst nightmare. You’ve probably heard of grubs, or maybe even dealt with grubs in the past, but what exactly is a grub? Grubs are larvae of various types of insects – June beetles, Japanese beetles, and chafers.
How Grubs Can Damage a Lawn
Your grass’ roots serve as food for grubs. As the grubs eat the roots, your yard will quickly fill with patches of thinning and dead grass.
Once your lawn falls victim to grubs, how do you fix it? You need a professional lawn company to aerate the grass and reseed it. However, it’s much easier to use grub killer before grubs cause widespread damage.
When is the Best Time to Put Down Grub Killer?
The best time to put down grub killer is when your start to see the damage caused by grubs (dead patches of grass). This is typically during the beginning of spring and into summer. But as with any type of home improvement, it will likely vary a small bit due to your climate and weather.
If you use a grub preventer, you hopefully shouldn’t have to use as much grub killer. Most lawn care experts recommend treating your yard with grub killer in June and July – right before grubs hatch. You have to time prevention right and it could vary depending on where you live. If you use prevention too early, it will lose its potency and be less effective.
Grub killer, on the other hand, is easy to time. Have a professional treat your lawn at the first sight of grub damage. Even if you’re not sure if grubs are the cause, you should still have a lawn care company inspect your lawn. The longer you let grubs thrive, the more expensive and difficult it becomes to treat your lawn.
How Do You Know if Your Yard Has Grubs?
Many homeowners mistake grub damage as dead grass caused by droughts or pets. Thankfully, there are a few telltale signs that your lawn has a grub infestation.
The first obvious sign is the change of the grass’ appearance. It will first become thin, then fade to a yellow color, and eventually die. While the grubs are feeding on the roots, the grass will have a spongy feel and you will be able to pull it up easily.
You may also notice flocks of birds feeding on your grass – digging small holes in your lawn to pick up the grubs. In addition to birds, raccoons, skunks, and moles all enjoy feasting on grubs.
Stages of a Grub
As you can imagine, the life of a grub is short. However, it can do long-term damage to your lawn. The average grub has a life cycle that consists of four stages. You’ll start to see the most damage during the grub’s larvae stage. This is when the grub starts to feed on the roots of your grass. If you take preventative measures, you can prevent the grubs from laying eggs in the first place.
The grub starts as an egg that’s laid by an adult beetle. Most beetles dig small holes and lay their eggs between June and August. It only takes about two weeks for the egg to hatch into larvae.
After two weeks, the small eggs hatch into larvae – right next to the grass’ roots. In the first stage of their life, the larvae will feed for several months. As they mature, the larvae begin to eat even more of the grass’ roots (and that’s when it becomes noticeable on the outside). When winter arrives and the ground freezes, the larvae move deeper into the ground.
Once the temperature warms up, larvae will move closer to the surface and begin feeding again. Shortly after, the larvae turn into pupae.
After the larvae fully mature (with months of eating, of course) they turn into pupae. This is a transitional period where larvae begin to form into their adult form as beetles. The pupae stage is quite short – it only lasts between 7 to 10 days. Since they do not eat, pupae will not damage your grass.
After 7 to 10 days, the pupae transition to their adult form – beetles. This stage of the life cycle happens during the beginning of summer. Beetles leave the ground and spend a few weeks mating and then lay their eggs in the ground again. Just one beetle can lay up to 60 eggs! Shortly after mating, the adult beetle will die.
Because one beetle can lay so many eggs, it’s important to have a professional contractor treat your lawn with grub prevention. If you can stop the beetles from breeding in the first place, you will spend less effort on killing the grubs that destroy your lawn.
Does Grub Killer Have Toxic Chemicals?
That depends on what brand of grub killer you use. There are various grub killers made from all-natural ingredients that are not toxic to pets or children. If you live in a household with pets and children, we recommend asking your landscaping professional to use a product that does not contain toxic chemicals. You can also check out our best lawn grub killer reviews for more in depth information into each grub killer product.
Can I Kill Grubs Myself?
Yes, you can kill grubs yourself with grub killer you can buy from stores such as the Home Depot and Lowes. While it might seem like an easy fix, we do not recommend that you kill grubs yourself. Landscaping professionals know the best practices to kill grubs and can complete the job much quicker.
If you attempt to kill the grubs yourself and miss some, you could have hundreds of beetles laying 60 eggs each (making your problem much worse). Because grubs can multiple so quickly, it’s better to do the job right the first time.
Put Down Grub Killer When You First See Signs of Lawn Damage
Even if you haven’t had grub problems in the past, it’s always a good idea to inspect your lawn for any signs of grubs – thinning, yellow grass, or small holes. If you’re not sure if you have grubs, you should have a professional landscaping company check out your lawn for you. If grubs go untreated, your entire lawn could die.