diatomaceous earth for grubs/bill bugs?

lizdehartJuly 8, 2008

I have either grubs or bill bugs in my lawn and ordered some nematodes. I can't get them for 2 weeks (found this out after I placed the order and paid for 2 day shipping).

My local agriculture extension said that the only wasy to purchase in Utah is online.

Can I use Diatomaceous earth to treat until I get the nematodes or would milky spore be better

My lawn looks AWFUL!

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Hi Liz,

I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but:

Now is a funny time of year to be just showing grub damage - how sure are you that you have grubs?

I ask because I am not convinced that Diatomaceous earth works at all on them unless you are able to till the stuff into where the grubs live - a few inches below the soil. If you just spread it on top I think it will just sit there. And if you till, your lawn is gone anyway. So I think DE is better left to the gardeners.

Milky spore only works against japanese beetle grubs, and apparently not very well in some locations, like where I am in New England. I believe it works better in the South, but even where it works well, if your grubs are not japanese beetle grubs it won't work at all. And apparently it takes a few years to become fully effective.

That leaves the nematodes, but you already know about them...

Can you check to see whether the problem insects are really grubs or something else? You check for grubs by pulling up the turf and counting the numbers you see per square foot. I have no idea how to check for billbugs, but I would guess that is worth looking into.

Regardless, there is no fast-acting organic remedy for bug infestations, you will either have to let them do their thing this year and repair the damage later, or cringe hard and apply the appropriate synthetic bug killer, once you know what you have there.

I'm sorry for the bad news! But either way, you can always fix it, it's just grass. ;-)

Good luck,

    Bookmark   July 9, 2008 at 7:00PM
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Don't just bite the bullet, the chemical insecticide will kill ALL the soil insects for a long period of time, both harmul and beneficial ones. As for the Diatomaceous earth, those same beneficial denizens of the turf naturally till the silicate into the soil without the aid of a tiller...unless you've already killed them off. The diatomaceous earth and the nematodes will control the turf destroyers without killing the beneficial ones, as long as you keep the area moist enough for the nematodes to do their job.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2009 at 10:35AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

liz, I think you had better accurately identify your pest before you decide what to do to control it. White grubs OR billbugs? Billbug larvae are grubs, too, but much smaller and much more difficult to locate unless you really look for them within the grass sheaths.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2009 at 4:33PM
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