Choosing the Best Grub Control Products
If your lawn looks brown and barren and birds and other wildlife are constantly coming to feed on it, you very likely have a grub infestation on your hands. Fortunately, you are not helpless against the little pests as there are plenty of grub control products out there that can help you get rid of them. The trick is just knowing when and how to apply them.
How to Detect Grubs
First things first, you need to be sure you have grubs in your soil and that the problem isn’t something else. To know this, get a shovel and dig about a 2 inch deep patch of earth. If you see a bunch of C-shaped creatures, those are grubs and very likely either larvae of Japanese beetle or European chafers. Both of these lay most of their eggs in July, but the Japanese beetle will continue to do so in the next month as well.
European chafers can be found across the United States, including Pennsylvania, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Wisconsin, Connecticut, Vermont, etc. and prefer dry turf where their population can vary depending on how dry or wet the previous summer was.
Japanese beetle, on the other hand, likes well-maintained lawns, so they are very likely to appear on athletic fields and golf courses if proper grub control is not done on them. Of course, this doesn’t mean your lawn won’t get grubs if you don’t irrigate. Abundant rain in July will also make a lawn very inviting for grubs.
Preventive vs. Curative Grub Control
Once you know for sure you have grubs, the next step is to decide whether to use a preventive grub control product or a curative grub control product.
Preventive insecticides are used to provide protection against the next grub generation and are best applied in June or July. However, they will not work on grubs you find in your soil between mid-October and mid-May.
The purpose of preventive grub control is to allow the turf to build tolerance to grubs, so if you no longer see any grubs in your soil after a few years, it means it worked and you can safely stop treating it.
Curative insecticides, on the other hand, are not as effective as preventive ones (preventive insecticides will reduce grub population by 75-100%, while curative by 20-80% if applied in September), but they are necessary from time to time.
If you intend to apply a curative grub control product, make sure it contains one of these two chemicals: trichlorfon or carbaryl, as these are the most effective against grubs that appear around spring and fall. Expect them to kill the majority of grubs in your soil in about 10-14 days after application.
Also keep in mind that grubs stop feeding in late May, so there’s no point in applying curative grub control products near that period, since they will need a week or two to become effective.
Regardless of which type of grub control product you choose, preventive or curative, make sure to mow the lawn before you apply them in order to protect bees, which might die if they visit flowers that were recently treated.