How and when to Get Rid of Grubs.
Naturally Nematodes!





Allow me to introduce you to my friend.  The grub.  As is often the case with my friends, I’m going to have to kill him.  It was this little creature that did this to my lawn …


Grub Damage


Grubs are larvae of different insects.  The European Chafer, or Japanese Beetles, or whatever else.  No matter what larvae they are from, grubs are hungry little creeps.  They’re grazers that line up to chew on your lawn roots the way old people line up for Crab night at The Mandarin.

All it takes is a couple of seasons with these grubs to destroy an entire lawn from the underside up.  They just keep eating and eating and eating your lawn roots until the lawn says “Forget this … death would be easier“.  And it up and dies.

I’ve had grubs for years and every year my lawn gets worse and worse.  But grub control is one of those weird things that has to be done with very specific products, at certain times of the year.  It’s a process

So this year, what with fixing up the front yard and everything, I decided it was time to figure out how and when to get rid of these stupid, swollen, wet, wormy things.

My first thought was to hold a “Survivor-style” contest on the street and see who could eat the most amount of them, but even though I put out a signup sheet on a clipboard with a pen attached to it all professional like, no one signed up.  Apparently my neighbours aren’t any fun.  Or adventurous.  Or maybe they’re all just full.

So I went to my local garden centre and asked a girl I know and trust, what I should do.


That’s what she told me.  Nematodes.  It rang a bell, but I had her further explain.  Nematodes are a natural, chemical free way to get rid of grubs.   My suspicion flags immediately went up.  ALARM, ALARM … Green bug control never works!  Slowly back away.  Leave now!

But I heard her out and then went home and did some research.  Turns out …. Nematodes really work.  They’re the #1 chemical free way to get rid of grubs along with many other destructive bugs.  If you’re looking for a chemical application,  check out Merit Grub control.  (It’s almost 100% effective.)

So what is a nematode?  Nematodes are microscopic worms.  You apply them to your soil or lawn and the nematodes work their way down into the subsurface where they make their way into the offending bug.  In my case, grubs.  Within 24-48 hours, the grubs they came in contact with are dead.  Simple as that.

Grub control with Nematodes takes place at the beginning of May and late August to Early October.  Twice a year.  Once when the grubs in your lawn are just coming up to the surface prior to turning into whatever bug they’re going to turn into (May), and once when the new eggs have hatched and the new population of grubs is feasting (August – October).   If you only think to put nematode control down once, the later application in August or October is the best time.  Past October the grubs burrow deeper into the soil where they’re harder for the nematodes to find and kill them.

So there you have it.  Get rid of those gross grubs that gorge on your grass.  Grimmediately.





One package of Nematodes like this costs $25 and will treat 2,000 – 4,000 square feet of lawn.  You can order Nematodes on the Internet or find them in a cooler at your garden centre.  Note all of the pests it gets rid of.  Even termites!



Nematodes 2

When you open the cardboard box up, inside will be a baggie with a damp sponge inside.


After packaging, the Nematodes work their way into the damp sponge and hang out.  As soon as you unfold the sponge you’ll see them.  They look like a mush blob.


Nematodes 5

Pour about a gallon of water into a bucket and put your sponge in and swish it around vigorously.  Stretch and pull the sponge.  You’re trying to get all of the Nematodes out.  Swish, swish, swish.  This bucket is now your concentrate of Nematodes.


You can either apply them with a Nematode sprayer that gets attached to your hose, or … if you have a smaller lawn, just water them in with a watering can.   Fill up your watering can and then add around a cup of the Nematode concentrate.



Nematodes 1

If you use the watering can method, remember to shake your can of water every so often to make sure the Nematodes are evenly distributed.  Otherwise they’ll all just sink to the bottom.  Now just walk around your lawn and water!

Nematodes 4

Your package of Nematodes will come with full instructions.

I’ll leave the signup sheet on the fence, just in case …


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  1. Kim from Milwaukee says:

    Adding compost to your soil will inoculate it with ‘friendly’ nematodes that will destroy the bad nematodes, i.e. plant nematodes. Compost will also help the soil to hold water, keeping the good guys alive.

    Aren’t grubs good bait for fishing as well?

  2. Angie says:

    My hate for grubs is now surpassed by my love for you, and for sharing this wonderful bit of information!

  3. Melody Madden says:

    It never ceases to amaze me all the “stuff” I’ve learned from you.. things I don’t even know that I need to know … anyway, thanks. This is another one of those things ..

    • Karen says:

      You’re welcome. I must admit, being so curious can be very tiring. I’m feeling nappy today. ~ karen!

  4. J9 says:

    Being a nursing student, I was looking to see a regurgitated ball of grease the other day; however, I was not prepared for a giant grub displayed on my smartphone this morning. Yuck! Get ’em!

  5. Gayla T says:

    First, I would like to say that I enjoyed my short stint as a friend. From here on out please consider me as your worst enemy. Secondly, there are some nematodes called root knot nematodes and you do not want them. See, there is one thing I remember from my quest for my useless horticulture degree. I have found that it impresses no one, especiallly grubs and nematodes. You probably do not have the root knot guys as they like warmer climates like we have here in KS. The hens would have loved to take care of the grubs for you but no, you had to kill them. They probably don’t want to be your friend either. From what I hear they have a very high homocide rate already.

  6. Langela says:

    My kids came across some while digging around an old stump. They watch a lot of survival shows. As they were examining them, one said, “Mmm protein.” And they all decided to try it. Of course they asked me first if it was ok. Being the wonderful mother I am, I told them to go ahead. My youngest only ate half of it and then spit it out. I told her it wasn’t good because it was a small one. So off she went to get a fat juicy one. Only half of that one made it in and then back out of her mouth. She said it tasted like snot. Yummmm! Needless to say, they have not eaten them again.

  7. Sandy says:

    Wow! Thanks for all the info. I have a huge mole problem. Now I know what is causing it!

  8. Susan Sutherland says:

    I was the nematode queen of our condo association years ago as I was in charge of lawns, etc. and wanted to find an alternative to pesticides that was also economical. Nematodes are a great natural way to get rid of grubs but they need water as they are living breathing organisms. When I had our condo lawns sprayed with nematodes years ago, each resident had to water their lawns for about 20 minutes for several days so that the nematodes would ‘go deep’ in the soil. If you don’t water they’ll dry up and won’t be of any use. Now if there is lots of rain after you apply them then you don’t need to water.

    • Deb J. says:

      This is so true – if they dry, they die. And drying out is the biggest reason for poor results. We had a lawn care company apply nematodes for the last few years and somehow they always managed to apply them in the middle of a really dry period while we were at the cottage. We’d come home a week later to a old notice saying water your lawn or lose your application. We rarely had an application really work. We no longer have them applied – just reduce the lawn when convenient and reseed the rest. Perhaps applying them yourself might give a bit more control but it doesn’t take much to kill off the little buggers. They are not as tough as the d**n grubs!

  9. Celine says:

    They also sell it at Costco!!

    and it works wonders!

  10. Karin says:

    Thanks for the timely reminder! It wasn’t until I read your post that I remembered my raspberry bushes being decimated by asian beetles last fall. Time for the nematodes to do a little decimating… bwa ha ha.

  11. Cynna says:

    Thanks! I need that stuff and will buy some today. Hopefully the moles will go away, too. My lawn looks like a slolem course with speed-bumps.

  12. AmieM says:

    How about some hints to get rid of mealybugs, pillbugs, or whatever you call them. They look like crustaceans, and they have taken over my garden. In small amounts they are harmless. But I cannot plant any seeds lest they be eaten and destroyed by these buggers. I’ve tried powders, soapy sprays, everything short of a massive bugocide in my beds. Help.

  13. pumpkin says:

    Organic Gardening magazine had an article about getting rid of moles years ago. They said moles eat grubs and live things so poison pellets (horrors!) do not work. You take away their food source and they move on to your neighbors yard.
    Thanks for the reminder and instructions!

  14. ev says:

    Hmmmm…I thought our lawn damage was due to moles, but maybe it’s grubs. Your lawn picture sure looked familiar. Hmmmm….

    • Karen says:

      Ev – The moles are damaging your lawn too, but digging around looking for the grubs. If you have a mole problem, you must have a grub problem. The moles are there because you have an abundance of food. ~ karen

  15. Barbie says:

    I want a follow up on this post!! I really would love to see how the nematodes did their work. You know, the “before and after. This is a very helpful post!
    If I was one of your neighbors ….I woud definitely ….ummm NOT sign up! LOLOL

  16. FlagirlinTN says:

    Thanks for this post! I have a huge mole problem and was told if you have moles, it’s because you have a lot of grubs (mole chow). So not only will the nematodes get rid of the grubs, but the moles too! Although my cats are taking care of 1 or 2 a week.

    • Karen says:

      Yup. You’ve got grubs. Around here it’s racoons and skunks digging up the lawns for the grubs. ~ karen!

  17. Shannon V. says:

    Thanks for the info….I am going to have to do this to my front lawn!

  18. Darlene says:

    Some how the posting along with my morning coffee was lets just say different!

  19. Oh boy, I hope these get rid of the ones that make round dead patches in the grass. Grubs are icky. Too bad the chickens won’t just eat them.

    • Karen says:

      LeeAnne – Yes, that’s exactly what I”m talking about … grubs that kill your grass. Apply your Nematodes now and then again in August or so. ~ karen!

  20. Ann says:

    Can’t believe I am first today!! Or maybe no one has anything great to say about grubs….

    But my chickens fav food in the entire world are grubs. They will eat them so fast their heads spin. Trouble is, they usually can’t find them by themselves. They are too deep in the soil for their little beaks. But if I am digging and come across one or two, I hand carry them over and give them to the chooks. They also love live Japanese Beetles and ate about a million of them last year. Hand fed of course. How do you expect a little foot tall chicken to get those beetles down off those bushes all by themselves?

  21. Deborah says:

    I hate grubs…ugly, ugly things they are. Anytime I dig some up in the garden, they are promptly squashed or sometimes, just for fun, I will put them on the grass under the bird feeder. Nothing gets a Robin more excited than seeing a gigantic, white morsel to stuff down their beak…bwahaha! take that grubs! Great info on the nemotodes, I don’t have a grub problem in the lawn, just occasional ones in the garden, but will go and pick some up anyways.

  22. Brenda says:

    Thanks for this Karen..How simple is that ?? I won’t use any ‘pesticide’ here , we have a little stream running along the lawn plus the dogs and cats, thought I would just have to put up with the unwanted guests. I am off to the garden center, yay!!

  23. Laura Bee says:

    I am contemplating saving the front lawn from grubs…but I like the whole garden look & not mowing would make me happy! The front berm was eaten a few years ago & is now home to sedum, chicks & hens, violets, hostas & whatever else I think to stick out there. The back yard has been taken over by moss this spring. I didn’t know nemotodes were so easy, thought you needed a special sprayer, maybe I will save the grass for my daughter to play on.

  24. Susan says:

    Ha! This was written just for me. I can tell! You must have seen my ravaged lawn! My neighbor, last year, complained that his lawn was completely chewed beyond from skunks scavenging for grubs. And there was my lawn looking fabulous and I never do a damn thing to it! Hahaha! He worked till all hours every evening cutting, trimming edges, treating bugs, applying top dressing and bags of seeds and fertilizer. I swear I saw him out there with scissors one day. Mine on the other hand gets cut once a week whether it needs it or not! Since I have 5 big old weed maple and walnut trees on my property I constantly apply grass seed…at least once a spring…
    This year the skunks moved over to my lawn cause I think his damn bugs left his lawn and came for vacation to my place! Needless to say I don’t need to aerate… Not that I ever did but now I hardly have any green and my neighbor sits on his deck and tells me almost everyday that something must be eating my lawn. No sh..!! Garden centre here I come! Lawn wars are on!!

    • Sherry says:

      I love the lawn wars idea – how bout a new reality show… yuk I can’t stand this topic… but I’d watch the show!

  25. Gwen says:

    Woah, neato.

    Do you think they kill earthworms as well? Or just the nasty grub variety of bugs?

    • Karen says:

      Gwen – Just grubs. They only target their “host” insect. Bleh. ~ karen

      • Christina says:

        What if you’re already in November when you start to notice what’s leaving holes because we noticed our grass dying back in late September.. and now being late November and realize what they are because I seen it what do we do now to kill them or is it too late

      • Karen says:

        Hi Christina, it depends on where you live (what zone) etc., but you’re best to wait until the spring to treat them. Right now they’re burrowed down deep. In the spring they’ll start to come to the surface to emerge. ~ karen!

    • Linda says:

      A great natural product you can buy is Neem oil.It’s concentrated so read the directions. It kills grubs and is safe for veggie gardens. It’s natural and you can buy it at Lowes.

    • l says:

      Earth does not belong to humans alone.
      You don’t have to kill things just because they are smaller than you.
      Educate yourself a bit, and you will discover that earthworms contribute a lot to the soil and do no harm to others.

      • Sarah says:

        I think Gwen was wondering because she doesn’t want to kill the worms, not because she does. I would be concerned about that as well! Glad to know it’s just the grubs, who, though natural, are more harm than good in this case.

      • Linda says:

        It’s not earthworms we’re talking. Everybody knows earthworms are nothing but beneficial to earth. We’re talking GRUBS. Educate yourself.

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