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11 Natural Ways to Get Rid of Grubs in Garden

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11 Natural Ways to Get Rid of Grubs in Garden

Many gardeners have dealt with the irritation of finding grubs in the soil among their plants. White grubs are voracious root-eating pests that eventually turn into leaf-eating adult beetles [1].

It’s not a pretty sight to see these critters crawling around, eating the roots of your crops, and damaging your lawn.

If you’re reading this article, then you’re likely seeking natural, harmless ways of getting rid of grubs once and for all.

Fortunately for you, there are plenty of methods you can use to rid your garden of them without harming your plants.

How to Get Rid of Grubs Naturally

Below are some of the best organic solutions and home remedies for grub control.

1. Beneficial Nematodes

This is a popular eco-friendly method to control grubs in your vegetable garden, flower beds, and lawns. Beneficial nematodes actively seek out these soil-dwelling pests.

You can buy beneficial nematodes for grubs online or at certain garden centers. Soak them in water on the sponge they come on.

Next, put them into a sprayer attached to a hose, and then give your yard and garden a good and thorough spray to release them. Once infected by the nematodes, the critters will die within a day or two.

2. Soap and Water

Soapy water is enough to kill grubs in your lawn and garden, as the soap itself will smother them.

For this homemade grub killer recipe, combine 3 tablespoons of organic liquid soap with a gallon of water. However, you can use Dawn dish soap if you’re only using it for your lawn.

Spray the soapy water solution on the infested lawn or soil.

3. Milky Spore

This is a naturally occurring bacterium that, once applied in your garden, won’t harm you or your plants.

Milky spore is highly effective as a natural grub killer. However, it can take up to two years to see the full effect.

Also, it only works on Japanese beetle grubs [2], so it’s best to combine it with other remedies.

Read the package instructions on how to apply.

4. Birds and Chickens 

In our opinion, the best grub worm killers are birds and chickens.

Set up bird feeders or a chicken coop. Chickens and some birds will peck and forage against anything they find in the soil, including beetle grubs.

The only issue is that they may also go after beneficial insects you’ll want to keep.

5. Organic Fertilizer 

Organic fertilizer, compared to synthetic fertilizer, has a lower chance of hurting beneficial soil organisms, such as beneficial nematodes. Read 29 Organic and Homemade Fertilizers for Plants.

It may not stop root-eating grubs, but it allows everything else to keep living. With organic fertilizers, beneficial nematodes stand a better chance of surviving another day to target grubs.

6. Neem Oil 

You can also use neem oil for grubs in the garden. It is very popular among organic gardeners as a natural and healthy pest control home remedy.

Make a natural grub repellent spray by combining 2 tablespoons of neem oil, 2 teaspoons of liquid soap, and a gallon of water.

Next, apply it to your lawn and garden soil to repel grubs. You can find neem oil at decent prices online or at some retail gardening stores.

7. Diatomaceous Earth (DE)

Food-grade diatomaceous earth is a great organic remedy to kill grubs and other bad garden worms naturally. Moreover, it is pet-friendly and safe to use around the house and in vegetable gardens.

The product will dry out insects, dehydrating them to death. To apply, dust a little around your plants in the soil.

This natural grub worm treatment is very effective, but it is also indiscriminate, so use it sparingly.

8. Garlic Spray 

Actually, a lot of vegetable garden pests can’t stand the smell of garlic spray. So, making a spray out of garlic and using it in your garden can help keep it free of most garden pests.

For this DIY grub control spray, puree 4 bulbs of garlic in one cup of water. Next, let it sit overnight.

Afterward, strain and apply the spray around your garden beds and pot plants. It will discourage grubs, slugs, caterpillars, and other pests that you don’t want around.

9. PyGanic 

PyGanic is an organic insecticide you can use to get rid of lawn grubs and certain pests in your garden.

With its active ingredient being pyrethrin, this product is safe for use on organic crops. Moreover, when used moderately, it will not harm earthworms.

10. Surround WP

Made from modified kaolin clay, Surround WP is another effective natural pesticide to get rid of white grub worms. When applied, it forms a barrier film that protects against these pests.

To use this treatment, follow the package directions on how to use it.

11. Limit Irrigation 

These fat white worms (as some people call them) thrive in moist soil. So, limiting the amount of water flowing into your garden or over your lawn grass may reduce the population of grubs.

Will Epsom Salt Work?

Some say it doesn’t, while others say high doses can. However, high doses of Epsom salt can kill earthworms, so you may want to reconsider using it.

What are Grub Worms? 

They are nothing more than the small larvae of certain beetles. However, grub worms are especially harmful to your garden and need to be dealt with as soon as possible.

They will nibble on the roots of your plants and, later in life, chew up the leaves of your crops. So, eliminate them from your garden as soon as they’re spotted.

Signs of Infestation 

You’ll see telltale signs of grubs in your lawn when you notice dead or damaged patches. If it feels spongy and soft to the touch, and if you see various wildlife digging at your grass, that’s another sign of grubs.

If you happen to pull back a section of grass and can count more than five grubs per square foot, you’ve got an infestation. These signs mean that they are most likely present in your garden as well.

Droopy leaves, the sudden death of plants, and the appearance of garden moles are all signs of a grub infestation.

When to Treat for Grubs?

The best time to kill grubs is usually in the spring and early fall, when there is increased activity in your garden or lawn.


The grub issue can be a major challenge for any gardener or farmer. Plus, there are so many ways to deal with them that it’s often hard to choose.

With a little experimentation, you’re bound to find the perfect natural remedy to keep garden and grass grubs away for good.

Andre Campbell

Organic farmer and co-founder of Dre Campbell Farm. He appreciates everything in nature—sunshine, plants, animals, and human life.


  • How often should I use the soap and water method for grubs.
    Thank you

    • Apply once every 7 days until they are gone completely.

  • Will this also kill firefly larva? I want to get rid of the food source for moles digging up my yard but don’t want to kill the fireflies, either.

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