What Are Grub Worms? – Their Life-Cycle, Where to Find Them & How to Get Rid of Them (Treating Your Lawn!)

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If you do own a lawn then keeping it in top shape needs a lot of time, care and knowledge regarding not only growing a nice green lawn, but also pest control, especially if your lawn is prone to bug attacks. Grub worms are one of the most common bugs that are pests to many gardeners. 

There are hundreds of insects and bugs which can damage your lawn and affect its healthy growth. 

Naturally, the presence of some bugs are safe for the lawn and even have positive effects. 

On the other hand there are many bugs which can adversely affect the appearance of the lawn you’ve worked so hard on.

It is important for the health of the lawn that one should be able to differentiate between the bugs which are beneficial for the lawn and those causing trouble to the lawn. 

Grub worms are one of the example’s of bugs which can affect the lawn appearance in a negative way. Here’s everything you need to know about them. 

What Are Grub Worms (and the Different Types?)

Grub worms are typically a C-shaped white or cream-colored creature which have slick and shiny bodies. 

They have six legs in front of the bodies and burnt orange coloured heads. 

Generally their size ranges from 1/4 inch to 2 inches in length, however their shapes may differ depending upon the larvae. 

These worm-like species have two types : annual grub worms that die within a calendar year and multiple year grub worms that live for two to three years. 

Although they are called worms, they aren’t actually worms and one of the most prevalent myths is that they are only the larval form of Japanese beetles. 

The truth is that grubs can be the larvae of a wide variety of beetle species (more on the different species a bit later!) 

Life Cycle of Grub Worms

Credit: https://entomology.ca.uky.edu/files/styles/panopoly_image_original/public/05.jpg?itok=BP3uK6k2

The grub worms start as an egg in the soil which are laid by female beetles. In 10 days the egg hatches into a larva which looks like a grub. 

This stage of grub worm may last from a few months to years. The grub worm then turns into a pupa and finally grows into a beetle. 

Grub worms can be known by a lot of names which include: 

  • turf grubs 
  • lawn grubs
  • white grubs

What Type of Beetles do Grub Worms Turn Into?

Grub worms can turn into a few different types of beetles including: 

1. June Bugs

Some grub worms turn into June bugs which are easily recognizable by their brown bodies and are normally found in eastern United States. 

They feed on flowers and can cause damage to them as well. They have brown shiny wings and they are 1 – 1/2 inches long.

2. Green June Bugs

These bugs are a subfamily of June Bugs and they appear green with yellow and brown appearance on sides and areas under wings. 

3. Japanese Beetles

These pests are bright green in color with brown wings. 

They have five pots on the sides of their body and are ½ inches long. They are the most common worms found in America after being accidentally imported from Japan.  

4. Asiatic Garden Beetle

These pests are easily recognized by brown colored wings. 

They are present in black color also and are ½ inch long. 

They are similar to japanese beetles and are also accidentally brought from Asia. 

5. Oriental Beetles

These beetles are ½ inch long and come in a mixture of brown and black color. 

They were accidentally imported from Asia and can be found on the East Coast of the United States.

Habitat of Grub Worms

During summers or early fall one might notice the color of the lawn turning to brown with dying patches. 

This is an early sign of your lawn being destroyed by the grub worms present under the soil. These grubs’ worms feed on the grass roots. 

After the mating season of beetles is over the female beetle lays eggs under the soil. 

Their depth under the soil varies on the temperature and weather conditions.

These grubs eat roots of the plants therefore the damage to grass can easily be noticed. 

Presence of 4-5 grubs per square feet of well irrigated and fertilized lawn will not bring noticeable damage however anything above this population will affect the condition of the turf. 

They have no preference for types of trufgrassses and can survive under any type of lawn. 

Grub worms can be damaging for lawns in initial stages and turn into a nightmare for plants in the garden after turning into beetles.

Treatment and How to Get Rid of Grub Worms 

Grub worms are known to cause damage to turfgrass by eating its roots. 

Although a healthy lawn can manage a few worms, if the population becomes too much their treatment is the only solution to protect the grass.

Many people use pesticides to protect their lawns but there are multiple options available for getting rid of these parasites. 

Natural solutions

1. Nematodes

Normally you can soak the nematodes in water and then can spray the treated water onto the infested grass. This will help in getting rid of grub worms and other similar bugs.

2. Milky spore

Milky spores kill grub worms without harming the grass and plants. Although this method can take upto 3 years to be effective but can cure your lawn for 15-20 years. 

3. Organic Fertilizer

Another effective way of controlling the grubs is by using organic fertilizers. 

It will not affect the healthy bacteria in the soil but you might have to use it twice a year (fall and late winters). 

The results might not be that effective as that of synthetic fertilizers but still an effective way of getting rid from the bugs.

4. Naeem Oil

Naeem Oil can be used for the purpose by mixing it with water and spraying on the turfgrass. 

Synthetic Fertilizer

One of the most effective ways of getting rid of gurbs is by making use of synthetic fertilizers. This would benefit both in growing healthy grass and getting rid of the bugs. 


There are various options of insecticides available in the market for grub worms. It requires regular watering of the area where these insecticides are sprayed. 


Grub worms are insects which feed on the roots of your turfgrass. 

They will not only cause problems for your lawns while in their initial grub stages but soon after turning into beetles, they will be eating away your expensive plants. 

So it is always advisable to get rid of them in the early stages as they have no benefits for your lawn apart from maybe being fish food or bait for those of you who count fishing among your hobbies.

Summers are the best time to enjoy the outdoors, and the best place to spend summer evenings are on your beautiful lawns. 

Spending time outdoors comes with a lot of benefits including stress relief, immunity boost and improved memory. 

Maintaining a lawn is more than watering and weekly cutting the grass. It requires continuous efforts for getting rid of weeds and pests to be in great shape. 

On top of that, you need to provide adequate nutrients and feeding to minimize the effects of summer heat. 

Grub worms are one extra pest you really don’t want to be worrying about.

Hopefully, after reading this blog, you know everything you need to know about grub worms and they are no longer a problem for your lawn as a result.