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10 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. These critters are voracious root-eating worms that turn into leaf-eating adult beetles [1].

It’s not a pretty sight, seeing fat white worms crawling around, eating the roots of your crops, and damaging your lawn.

If you’re reading this article, then it’s a good bet you’re 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 grub bugs without harming your plants, pets, or the useful insects you want to keep.

How to Get Rid of Grubs Naturally

Below are some organic solutions and home remedies for grub control. Some are items that can be readily accessed and others are things you can do to limit infestation.

1. Beneficial Nematodes

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

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

Next, put into a sprayer attached to a hose and then give your yard and garden a good and thorough rinse to release them. Once infected by the nematodes, the critters will die within 14 days.

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 solution directly on the critters, ensuring that they are completely covered. They will then die by way of suffocation.

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, but the problem is that it can take up to two or three years before it reaches its maximum potential [2].

Moreover, it only works on Japanese beetle grubs. Therefore, it’s best to combine it with other techniques, such as beneficial nematodes for the best effect against your enemies. 

Read the package instructions on how to apply.

4. Birds and Chickens 

The best grub worm killers are birds and chickens.

Set up bird feeders or a chicken coop. The former may be easier, but with the latter, at least you’ll get eggs out of it.

They will peck and forage voraciously against anything they find in the soil, especially beetle grubs.

The only con to this otherwise brilliant plan is that the birds may also go after beneficial insects you’ll want to keep, so give it some thought first. 

5. Organic Fertilizer 

Using an organic fertilizer compared to synthetic stuff has a lower chance of killing helpful organisms, such as beneficial nematodes. Read 29 Organic and Homemade Fertilizers for Plants.

It may not stop root-eating grubs, but because it allows everything else to keep living, the other organisms stand a better chance of surviving another day to eat the critters. 

6. Neem Oil 

A very popular option being a natural and healthy pest control home remedy, you can use neem oil for grubs in the garden.

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

Next, apply generously across your lawn and garden soil to prevent the critters from appearing and, most importantly, feeding.

You can find neem oil decently priced online and at some retail gardening shops. 

7. Diatomaceous Earth (DE)

Diatomaceous earth is a great organic remedy to kill grubs and other pests. Moreover, it is pet-friendly and safe to use around the house and in vegetable gardens. 

The product is abrasive to the exoskeletons of insects, dehydrating them to death. To apply, dust a little around your plants on the soil.

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

8. Garlic Spray 

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

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

Strain and then apply the spray around your vegetable garden to discourage both the grub insect and whatever else you don’t want around. 

9. PyGanic 

PyGanic is a special organic insecticide you can use to get rid of grub worms and other insect pests in your garden.

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

10. Surround WP

Made from specialized Kaolin clay, Surround WP is another effective natural pesticide to get rid of grass grubs. It repels pests and causes severe debilitation such as confusion or irritation.

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

11. Limit Irrigation 

White grub worms require moisture to thrive, more so in soil that is consistently moist.

Therefore, by limiting the amount of water flowing into your garden or over lawn grass, you can effectively dry them out. This will prevent them from moving around easily so predators can catch them.

What are Grub Worms? 

They are essentially nothing more than small, wriggly larvae laid by adult beetles and hatching out as little white worms. In all life stages, they’re especially harmful to your garden and need to be dealt with as soon as possible.

They nibble on the roots of your plants and later in life, chew up the leaves of your crops.

Because of their damaging nature, it’s imperative to get rid of them from your garden as soon as they’re spotted. If not, you’ll be in for a rough time dealing with them as they mature.

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 indication of grass grubs.

If you happen to pull back a section of grass and can count more than five of them per square foot, you’ve got an infestation. With these signs, it means 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 grub infestation.

When to Treat for Grubs?

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


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

Fortunately, with a little experiment, you’re bound to find the perfect natural remedy for keeping these garden and grass worms out for good.

Andre Campbell

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

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