Several years ago my lawn and gardens were infested with grubs and Japanese beetles. Dig anywhere in the lawn and you would see many of the white wormlike larvae known as grubs. Gross aren’t they? They were doing what grubs do, which is eating the roots of the lawn. Then the grubs turn into Japanese beetles. I remember one July day when the grubs must have all hatched together. A cloud of Japanese beetles came flying out of the lawn ready to eat everything. Gross again.
Initially I tried those yellow bags staked into the lawn that attract and trap Japanese beetles. In fact, all of my neighbors had them too. The bags are satisfying for a short time because you are catching and trapping large amounts of Japanese beetles. But the satisfaction is short-lived when you realize that you still have a grub and beetle problem. And the bags actually attract neighboring beetles to your yard.
I was unwilling to use pesticides. Chemicals will do harm to soil, water, and your yard’s ecosystem. Many of the grub chemicals on the market are neonicotinoids. Horrible for pollinators. You don’t want “neonics” in your yard.
An Organic Solution
After doing some research, organic sources were recommending nematodes. Nematodes are microscopic worms that feed on pests. They are naturally found in soil. In fact healthy soil is loaded with nematodes. There are destructive nematodes and beneficial nematodes–I am referring to the beneficial kind.
I found my nematodes here. You simply add the nematodes to some water and then water the affected area. I added my nematodes in the spring. I watered the area for about a week or two. Since you can’t see the nematodes in the container, it takes a bit of faith to believe they are there. But they are and it works. The effect on my lawn was dramatic. The grubs disappeared. By the following summer there were few Japanese beetles. Wow. Both the grubs and beetles have stayed away for the most part.
Remember annihilation is not your goal. It is OK to have a few grubs and beetles. They will do little damage to your yard, and they are food for other creatures.
My general approach to pests is to provide flowers. See my post “How to Keep the Bugs Away”. But one problem of our lawns is that they are often devoid of other plants or flowers. Instead of providing flowers that attract bugs, this time I had to bring the bugs (nematodes) in myself.