Grub Worm Control In Lawns

Prevention - Treatment - Control

The type of grub worms that infest Carlsbad lawns..
Grub Worms

At Horizon, we can help identify and treat even the worst grub worm infestations that plague Southeast New Mexico lawns. Both curative and preventive, we get excellent results in fewer applications.

As well, all of our lawn weed control treatments in Carlsbad have grub control in the mix at no extra cost. So if you're already a client, your yard should be covered for grub worms now and in the future.

Lawn grubs, often referred to as grub worms, aren't actually worms at all. In Southeast New Mexico lawns, the majority of them are actually the larvae of the masked chafer and Japanese beetle.

In Carlsbad and Southeast New Mexico, these Japanese beetles that result from the grubs are often referred to as June Beetles. You may recognize them as the small brown beetles that start to show up in early to mid summer and fly around your porch light and accumulate everywhere.

Regardless of what type of critter they are, grubs can cause a lot of damage to lawns. The damage they create can be both directly from eating the roots of grass and plants and indirectly by attracting other animals like skunks, racoons, and birds that dig them up and eat them. We trap a lot of grub worm eating raccoons and Carlsbad has a huge population within the city. And just a few of them can destroy an entire lawn in one night.

Identifying A Lawn Grub Problem

A problem with grubs in your lawn is usually visually obvious as it will create irregularly shaped  yellow dead areas in the turf. However, yellow dead spots in the grass can also be a sign of some other problem such as the lawn needs more fertilizer, a lawn disease, a fungus, too much shade, or even a faulty sprinkler system. Another sure sign is the small holes left in your lawn from grub foraging animals.

Grubs are most often found in sunny area lawns rather than shaded area lawns. And the most activity and greatest concentration of grubs is most often going to be found where the dead area of lawn meets with greener healthy lawn.

To see if the damage is really from grubs and to identify them, peel up the top layer of sod with with a flat shovel to inspect the area just under the roots. In many cases, the sod can just be lifted without a shovel due to the damage done.

Once you have the area exposed, you should be able to see the pests out in the open or with a little roughing of the soil. They are most often white, cream, or light brown C-shaped soft insects. And if you're seeing surface damage to your lawn, you should be able to see at least five per square foot.

Preventive Or Curative Treatment

A lawn spreader used to spread insecticide for grub worm control.
Grub Worm Insecticide Spreader

While most lawns will have a grub or two or more, having a few rarely cause any signs of damage or warrant any alarm or need for treatment. However, if a test of questionable areas as explained above does reveal five or more grubs per square foot, curative treatment is necessary of the troubled spots.

Preventative treatment is more a means of treating the entire lawn with systemic insecticide in both Spring and late Summer. This almost always ensures that beetles won't be able to even lay viable eggs in the grass and those that do will die quickly.

Preventive or curative, as an added plus to our weed control clients who get treated in the Spring and Fall, we add grub control to our herbicide mix. Our weed control treatments are an extra value service with no added cost for the grub control. And it keeps a continual barrier down without having to spread dry granules on the lawn.

Generally, the biggest deciding factor in preventive grub control is budget and expense. And of course, the larger the lawn, the bigger the expense. So most folks that have never had an issue usually opt for the curative approach. Again though, if you're a weed control client, this will be taken care of for you when we treat the lawn.

Other deciding factors for preventive treatment are whether or not a lawn has had issues in the past, if a lot of mature beetles were present in the Spring, or if surrounding yards have issues. This may warrant a just in case approach.

 Best Time To Treat For Grubs

Preventing grubs correctly is a matter of treating at the proper time. In most cases, within a few weeks after the beetles have emerged and are present, they will lay eggs in the soil. This is generally in July. Depending on soil temperature and moisture, the eggs hatch in about two weeks. At this point, the grubs will remain close to the surface and feed on grass roots. This is a good time to treat the lawn.

Early Spring can have some benefit. However, depending on the insecticide available to you, the effectiveness can dwindle by the time the eggs are deposited and marginal control can be expected. At this stage of the grubs life they are harder to kill since they are larger, not feeding anymore, and are deeper under the surface of the soil.

While I don't suggest not doing anything at all in the Spring, just keep in mind that any type of treatment will be marginal and generally not complete. We can slow them down a bit but the real results are going to come from treating at the end of the season and be obviously visible next year.

A simple step that can be done in Spring to slow down the visible damage is to apply a contact insecticide like liquid Sevin or malathion. A contact insecticide is necessary since they're not feeding. These insecticides can usually be purchased over the counter at your local home center, garden center, or feed store. Applied and watered in, these insecticides will kill some but generally not all of the grubs. As I said earlier, they are quite large at this stage, almost mature, and deeper under the surface.

So in order to get much better results, we treat lawns with a systemic long term insecticide in the late Summer and early Fall while the grubs are still small, feeding, and closer to the surface of the soil. The results are most always complete and satisfactory with one treatment.

Can A Grub Infestation Be Prevented?

It's difficult to predict if an individual lawn will get a grub infestation or not. Actually most don't. So to suggest that a yearly preventative treatment is a necessary expense may not be completely accurate or as necessary as say pre emergent weed control. Still, it would be logical to say that yes, an insect infestation in your lawn could be prevented with a yearly preventative treatment of long term residual insecticide.

For consideration, there are some factors that may indicate whether or not your yard is a candidate for an early preventative treatment.

For example, if your yard is the only green moist lawn in a sunny location surrounded by others that are not so, your yard would be the best candidate for an egg laying beetle to use. Or if you notice a lot of the Japanese beetles on your lawn in the Summer months, it may also be a worthy indicator. Still, it's not always certain. It really matters if it's in your budget and practical for you to do so.

Professional Grub And Insect Control

In Carlsbad Southeast New Mexico, Horizon provides service for grub control as well as weed control and pest control in lawns. Give Horizon Pest Control a call today at 574-725-9331 to schedule service or a free evaluation. Horizon is located in Carlsbad but serves all of Southeast New Mexico..