Grub infestations cause grass to thin, turn brown and be easily pulled up without the roots. Pet owners who have grub problems should take care to only use cat- and dog-safe grub killer products. There are plenty of options out there that will eradicate the problem, and pet owners don't have to worry about their beloved friends' safety.
What Are Grubs?
Understanding exactly what grubs are is key to controlling them. Grubs are the larvae of several species of chafers and beetles. They eat away at grass roots, leading to those spreading brown patches. However, grubs are not the only pests that damage lawns. Sod webworms, hair chinch bugs and other uninvited guests could be the culprits.
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To check for a true grub infestation, get a shovel and cut into the brown patch where you think grubs may be at work. Peel up a square-foot section along with the soil. If the grass peels up very easily, set it aside and sift around in the soil. If you find at least 10 grubs when doing so, there is a good chance that you have a pretty serious grub infestation.
Grub Treatment Safe for Dogs
Products that only contain permethrin, cyfluthrin, lambda-cyhalothrin, bifenthrin, deltamethrin or gamma-cyhalothrin are not dog-safe grub killers. These could also harm lawns and people. The preventive compound chlorantraniliprole controls grubs, is safe for pets and is best applied in April and May. This compound is found in products like Scotts Grubex, which can be applied with a broadcast, drop or hand spreader. Grubex is pet-safe, so you can feel confident when using it on your lawn.
There are several other biological, chemical and cultural controls to kill grubs and prevent them from destroying lawns. One is GrubGone!, which contains the active ingredient Bt galleriae. A second is milky spore powder, but this only targets Japanese beetle grubs. The three chemical controls this source mentions are Acelepryn (chlorantraniliprole), Dylox (trichlorfon) and Merit (imidacloprid).
Acelepryn is sold in granular or spray form. Dylox is granular and has to be watered in after applying. Merit is a systemic insecticide, and there is the possibility that it will harm pollinators, so this should not be used on flowering plants. Although all of these products have low toxicity for pets and people, it is always best to err on the side of caution. After the products are applied, humans and furry friends should stay off until the grass is completely dried.
Tips for Controlling Grubs
Shopping for the right grub control products is only part of the fight to win the grub war. Use products that have thiamethoxam, imidacloprid and clothianidin in June or July to prevent fall grubs. Applying them too early in the season could damage the lawn. Remember to mow the lawn before applying your products.
Also, wear rubber boots and rubber gloves when applying insecticides. Irrigate the grass with a half inch of water afterward and let the lawn dry completely. Other than that, you should fertilize the lawn as you normally do and keep all insecticides safely stored out of reach.