Beneficial nematodes are a far better choice to stop grub damage in your lawn than milky spore. Nematodes kill hundreds of species of white grubs and other harmful insects, while milky spore only kills Japanese beetle grubs. Nematodes kill grubs up to 20 times faster than milky spore. Additionally, you can treat the same lawn area with nematodes at half the cost of milky spore powder. Combine these benefits with the fact that nematodes are a safe, easy-to-use, organic lawn treatment and you have a clear winner.
What is the Difference Between Milky Spore and Nematodes?
Milky spore is a grub killer made of P. popilliae bacteria. When this bacteria enters the soil and is ingested by Japanese beetle grubs, it causes a deadly disease that kills the grub within days. This bacteria will not harm any other organisms, so it is harmless to the environment.
- Milky spore treatments contain a bacteria that attacks and kills Japanese beetle grubs.
- Nematodes are tiny worms that hunt grubs in the soil and kill them.
- The bacteria in milky spore is P. popilliae.
- Nematodes infect insects with Photorhabdus bacteria.
Beneficial nematodes are small worm-like creatures that live in the soil and hunt grubs. When you apply nematodes to your yard, they will seek out grubs and other larval insects. Then, when the nematodes attack the grub, they infect it with bacteria-caused diseases that kill grubs within 48 hours. Both options kill grubs quickly, but the species they affect, their cost, and their ease of use differ. So, it’s essential to take a closer look to see which is the better choice.
Which Should You Use: Milky Spore or Nematodes?
Before deciding whether to spend your money on milky spore or nematodes, let’s compare the two options head-to-head. We’ll examine these two products based on effectiveness, cost, and ease of use. Then, we’ll pick a clear winner.
Do Nematodes Kill More Grubs than Milky Spore?
Beneficial nematodes kill a much wider range of grubs and pest insects than milky spore. Nematodes attack over 200 species of larval insects, including almost every type of lawn-destroying grub. In comparison, milky spore only kills one type of grub—the Japanese beetle grub. So, nematodes are far more versatile.
- Nematodes kill 200 species of grubs and soil insects.
- Milky spore only kills 1 species of grub—the Japanese beetle grub.
- Nematodes are excellent at killing Japanese beetle grubs too.
- You’ll kill more grubs and pests with nematodes than milky spore.
It is very hard to tell grub species apart unless you are an insect expert. So, it’s often difficult to tell whether your lawn is being destroyed by Japanese beetle grubs, chafer beetle grubs, or June bug grubs. Rather than try to identify your grub species, use nematodes to attack them all. Studies have shown that beneficial nematodes kill up to 96% of Japanese beetle grubs. So, they’ll give you all the benefits of milky spore, plus more.
Do Nematodes Work Faster than Milky Spore?
Nematodes will destroy a grub infestation faster than milky spore. Grubs attacked by nematodes die in 24 to 48 hours. Milky spore takes 7 to 21 days to kill grubs. Although both solutions start working as soon as they’re applied to your lawn, using beneficial nematodes will kill grubs and stop lawn damage much more quickly.
- Both milky spore and nematodes start working immediately after application.
- Nematodes kill grubs in 24–48 hours.
- Milky spore kills grubs 7–21 days after exposure.
- Nematodes kill grubs even faster than grub pesticides.
Nematodes work more quickly than grub-killing pesticides. When we compared milky spore vs GrubEx, we found that GrubEx pesticide takes 10 to 14 days to kill grubs. So, nematodes outperform both milky spore and chemical grub killers when it comes to destroying a grub population fast.
Is Milky Spore Cheaper than Nematodes?
You can treat your lawn with a single application of beneficial nematodes for a much lower price than using milky spore. The recommended application rate for 10,000 square feet is 25 million nematodes or 40 ounces of milky spore. Check the products linked below for current prices for each of these quantities.
- Nematodes are typically less expensive than milky spore treatments.
- This package of 25 million nematodes will treat 10,000 square feet of lawn.
- In comparison, this 40-ounce package of milky spore powder will also treat 10,000 square feet.
Milky spore applications may become less expensive in the long run, since milky spore bacteria can remain active in the soil for 10 to 20 years after application. In comparison, nematodes are most effective when they are applied annually. However, you can instead choose to apply them only when your lawn is suffering from grub infestation.
Is Milky Spore Safer to Use than Nematodes?
Both milky spore and nematodes are harmless to pollinators, earthworms, and beneficial insects. Milky spore only kills Japanese beetle grubs, which are an invasive species in North America. This makes milky spore extremely safe, since no native species will be harmed. Beneficial nematodes kill a wide variety of beetle larvae. This means they can kill native species. However, they target pest species that destroy plant roots, so nematodes are still safe to use.
- Nematodes and milky spore are both organic and safe.
- Neither product will harm your family, the environment, or beneficial insects.
- Both choices are far safer to use than pesticides.
Both milky spore and nematodes are organic, non-toxic choices for killing grubs. So, either choice is safer for your family and the environment than using pesticides. Nematodes and milky spore pose zero risk to your family, pets, waterways, and the environment.
Are Nematodes Easier to Apply than Milky Spore?
Both milky spore and nematodes are both very simple to apply to your lawn. For nematodes, mix the packaged nematodes with water. Then, use a sprayer to douse the lawn with the water containing the nematodes. It really is that easy. The water will activate the nematodes and pull them down into the soil. Keep the soil moist and the nematodes will get to work hunting and killing grubs.
- Both grub-killers are very easy to use.
- Mix packaged nematodes with water, and then spray your lawn with the mixture.
- Milky spore products are applied to your lawn, then watered in.
Milky spore is also simple to apply. Milky spore powder can be applied with a lawn applicator that leaves piles of powder on the lawn. Alternatively, you can use a lawn spreader designed for grass seed to spread milky spore granules. Water your lawn after application and the milky spore will start working.
Does Milky Spore Last Longer than Nematodes?
The one benefit milky spore has over nematodes is that the treatment can last much longer when you choose milky spore. Although it may take multiple applications, once you establish a population of milky spore bacteria it can remain effective for 10 to 20 years. Nematodes, in comparison, may last 2 to 3 years per application, but you often need to apply nematodes annually to keep grub populations down.
- Milky spore can last for 10 or more years after application.
- Nematodes often require an annual application.
- It is safe and effective to use both milky spore and nematodes together.
Although milky spore generally lasts longer than nematodes, this doesn’t outweigh the other benefits. Nematodes still kill more grubs faster, and at a lower price. So, you can reclaim your lawn faster with nematodes. If you want the benefits of both products, you can use nematodes and milky spore powder together. There is no harm in using both products on your lawn at once.
Which is Better: Milky Spore or Nematodes?
To destroy an invasive grub population in your yard, choose beneficial nematodes over milky spore treatment. Here’s why:
- Nematodes kill far more pest grub species than milky spore.
- Milky spore takes longer to kill grubs than nematodes.
- Treating your lawn with nematodes is less expensive than using milky spore.
- Both options are organic, environmentally friendly grub-killers.
- Nematodes are just as easy to use as milky spore.
The one category where nematodes fall short is that they do not remain in the soil as long as milky spore. However, this often doesn’t make a huge difference. Using nematodes can stop grub damage quickly and safely. Then, you can choose to make future applications if and when grubs become a problem again.