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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 home growers and farmers have dealt with the irritation of finding grubs in the soil among their plants and crops. These critters are voracious root-eating worms that turn into leaf-eating adult beetles [1].

It’s not a pretty sight, seeing fat white earthworms crawling all over the place, eating your precious harvest, and destabilizing the structure and stability of your plants and 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, with natural being the keyword here.

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.

Eco-friendly pesticides are also available as not all commercially sold insecticides are harmful. Any one of these methods is guaranteed to help rid your garden of the critters before they can do any permanent damage.

1. Beneficial Nematodes

This is a popular eco-friendly method for those seeking to get rid of grub worms in lawn and vegetable gardens. These tiny creatures actively seek out grass worms and similar 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 in.

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 in 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 pathogen that, once released into 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 the mentioned 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 

Neem oil is a very popular option being a natural and healthy pest control remedy.

To use it, make a natural grub repellent spray by mixing 2 tablespoons of neem oil with 2 teaspoons of liquid soap in a gallon of water.

Next, apply generously across your lawn or garden 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 recipe, puree 4 bulbs of garlic into 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 

PyGanicis a special organic insecticide that has been widely proven to control all varieties of annoying pests.

With its active ingredient being pyrethrin, this product is safe for use on organic crops. 

10. Surround WP

Made from specialized Kaolin clay, this stuff forms a protective shield around vegetables and other plants when sprayed on liberally.

Surround WP is an effective natural pesticide. 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 for a healthy environment to grow successfully.

Therefore, by limiting the amount of water flowing into your garden or over your lawn, you can effectively dry them out. This will prevent them from moving around easily and eating whatever they come across.

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 prized 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 grub worm damage when you notice dead or damaged patches in your lawn. If it feels spongy and soft to the touch and if you see various wildlife digging at your grass, that’s another indication.

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 late summer or early fall when they’ll be most active and feeding. 


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 pests 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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