Grubs are underground pests that not many homeowners know how to deal with. Since spotting grubs is not as easy as noticing mole mounds or seeing fire ant trails, it can be hard to know when you have a problem. Once you do have a problem, however, nothing short of the best grub killers may be able to save your lawn.
If you’ve dug under the wilted lawn patches, and you’ve found those pesky white crawlers, then you’re in the right place. Check out my favorite grub killers for various situations and my tips on how to pick and use them to get your lawn back into perfect shape.
The Best Grub Killers for Residential Use
- The Best Grub Killers for Residential Use
- When to Kill Grubs
- Should You Fertilize the Soil While Using a Grub Killer?
- Are All Grub Killers Insecticides and Vice Versa?
Designed as a method of long-term control, the Scotts GrubEX is a chlorantraniliprole-based formula. It provides grub control for up to four months, which makes it an ideal choice for early spring treatments.
Early spring application will give the formula enough time to sink in and start killing grubs that develop and feed on plant roots midsummer. Since it’s also long-lasting, it will take care of grubs that affect plants during autumn.
Although this grub killer has been formulated for use with Scotts spreaders, any spreader will do just fine. If you already have one laying around, that’s great. If not, you’ll have to buy one since the package doesn’t include one.
This formula has a higher concentration than the original Grubbed, as well as a slightly different formulation, which allows it to have a deadlier effect on more types of grubs.
As long as you follow the application instructions, the GrubEX will be harmless against earthworms and vital soil bacteria and other wildlife. But, it’s not exactly a natural product. So try to stick to the provided guidelines.
Although the name might be slightly misleading, the BioAdvanced 24 Hour Grub Killer Plus is still a very fast-acting grub killer. I recommend these granules for treating infestations instead of preventing them. As such, this is something you can use if your prevention control formula has failed or if you haven’t used one so far.
When used in the spring, this formula can quickly kill off grubs that survived the winter and are just getting started with feeding on roots. You can also use it in the summer if the infestation is advanced, and even in the fall as it can quickly dispatch grubs as they’re just coming out of their eggs.
This grub killer has a dylox-based formula. Because of its main active ingredient and unique formulation, the Grub Killer Plus can also handle other harmful pests such as cutworms, millipedes, mole crickets, sowbugs, ticks, and others.
However, it’s most efficient against grubs. Therefore, while you can treat up to 5,000sq.ft of lawn with a single package of the Grub Killer Plus, you may need slightly more product if you’re to control other pest populations too.
Although mostly an insect killer, this Bonide formula can also control the grubs population, provided you use enough of it. The formula contains two active ingredients - imidacloprid and lambda-cyhalothrin. The former is a known insecticide, but one that doesn’t kill grubs.
The latter, on the other hand, cyhalothrin, can dispatch grubs quickly. Note that this is not a preventive grub killer but preferably something you’ll want to use when faced with brown spots on your lawn.
The formula also provides some residual control. Therefore, if you were to use it for spring treatment, it should last all through the summer. However, you will need to use it again as soon as fall starts and the grubs cycle resumes.
I would recommend the Bonide Insect & Grub Killer if you’re not dealing with a massive infestation. This one has a low-intensity formula that can also kill most insects, and a great starter grub killer if you haven’t used one before.
The best way to spread the granules would be with a fertilizer spreader.
Slightly pricier than others, this formula comes in 20lbs bags, which is excellent for treating large properties. One bag can treat up to 7,000sq.ft, which is nothing to scoff at. You can use a regular fertilizer spreader to disperse it for broadcast treatments.
But, this is a situational or niche product. This grub killer is selective and mostly works on Japanese Beetles. So, unless you can identify your grubs as Japanese Beetles, you shouldn’t jump the gun on the Milky Spore Grub Control Mix.
That said, if these are the grubs you’re trying to kill, then the Milky Spore Grub is for you. You should know that this formula, once it makes its way to the optimal depth, will last for years to come. So, as a long-term treatment, this is very hard to beat.
The reason it does this is that as grubs eat it, they replicate the Milky Spore for new grubs to find. And the spores don’t care about the developing winter cycle of grubs either. They will remain active until the new ones hatch from their eggs.
Although it’s uncommon for grub killers to affect lawns in any harmful way, you should know that some of the passive ingredients in grub killers may not always be as harmless as the active ingredients.
The Bayer Grub Control Plus Turf Revitalizer can be an ideal solution for severely damaged lawn grasses. Not only does this formula kill grubs, but it also introduces nutrients in the soil to revitalize the root mass.
That helps grow a stronger turf, more resilient to treatments, and can also repair damage already done by grubs. You may also like to know that this formula can provide above and underground protection from pests.
The Imidacloprid active ingredient is a very efficient insect killer so it can take care of any crawlers that thrive on eating the foliage. I like that the Grub Control Plus Turf Revitalizer can treat an area of up to 5,000sq.ft with only 12lbs of granules.
That means that it’s not just ideal for medium-sized properties but also cost-effective, given the season-long protection.
The Roundup Bug Destroyer comes in granulated form. It has a better water absorption rate than regular dust, and it can target well over 100 types of insects, along with grubs.
One bag of Bug Destroyer can treat up to 2,500sq.ft. of the lawn without damaging it. And, it can also provide top and subterranean protection. Due to its main active ingredient, chlorantraniliprole, this formula won’t kill grubs very quickly.
However, if you treat your lawn in late fall or early spring, it will start working at the right time to prevent a grub infestation. Think of it as a preemptive strike or a preventive treatment. It’s something you might want to use if you’ve just seeded a new turf over clean ground.
The Roundup Bug Destroyer is a selective insecticide, and it doesn’t contain active or passive ingredients that harm lawns or deplete them of nutrients. It won’t even affect earthworms and other organic matter necessary to maintain root strength.
The Bayer Dylox 6.2 is more than just a white grub insecticide. Its 6.2% concentration of trichlorfon is excellent at killing even Japanese Beetles, Mole Crickets, Bluegrass Weevils, and other pests that may be causing havoc to your lawn.
I find this formula fast because it doesn’t take more than a few days for it to kill grubs. You can apply it as a spot-on treatment or broadcasting treatment during spring and autumn. But, it doesn’t have the best residual control effect.
It may not be enough to kill newly hatched eggs in early spring or mid-autumn. That’s why I recommend this if you need a quick fix for a severe infestation. You might want to use another grub killer as a preemptive control method.
The Bayer Dylox 6.2 can be considered mild in a way since it has minimal impact on the soil. It doesn’t deplete it of nutrients, earthworms, and other organic elements that help maintain a healthy root system.
When to Kill Grubs
You need to know when to use grub killers and which ones to use if you want to be effective. There are different formulas that you have to apply for spring grubs and summer grubs. For example, one of the best grub killers, chlorantraniliprole, is ideal for use in mid-April to May and targets fall grubs.
However, trichlorfon or carbaryl-based products can kill grubs even quicker, so you may want to use them for spring or summer treatments.
What’s the main difference between these active ingredients? Chlorantraniliprole takes much longer to sink into the ground deep enough for it to affect the grubs. That’s why you should use it for long-term planned treatments.
Of course, different formulas will work on different timelines.
Should You Fertilize the Soil While Using a Grub Killer?
It’s not so much a question of should you fertilize the soil as much as it is if you need to. Most grub killers, the good ones, have hardly any impact on lawns and the earth beneath them. Grub killers don’t target earthworms or beneficial organic matter and other nutrients in the ground.
That means that they won’t do anything to affect the root system negatively. That said, grubs are notorious for how destructive they can be to plant roots. After all, the early signs of a grub infestation are wilted grass.
So, in theory, using some fertilizer or adding some nutrients to your grub control treatment is not a bad idea. It could help repair some of the damage already done.
Are All Grub Killers Insecticides and Vice Versa?
The answer is a resounding no. Grub killers mostly target grubs. Sometimes they can work against multiple species and sometimes a single one. They can be as selective or broad-spectrum as herbicides.
But, whether or not they work on insects depends entirely on the formula. You see, conventional insecticides, or their active ingredients, have little effect on grubs. Therefore, common insecticide ingredients are not a requirement in grub killers.
That doesn’t mean that there aren’t multi-purpose grub killers, too. If you want to do two things at the same time, you could consider getting two-in-one grub killers.
That said, more often than not, I find that dedicated insecticides will always yield better results for dealing with above-ground pests.
Make Your Yellow Grass Green Again
Here’s something that you should never forget. Unless you’ve found grubs, don’t be hasty to use grub killers on your lawn. They’re expensive pesticides and take a while to show results, which means that in the meantime, matters could get worse.
But, once you’ve identified the problem, the solution should come to you quickly. At least now you know what the grub killers are and how to choose the one for your particular issues, weather conditions, and time of year.