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Apr 27, 2017 Return to Headlines

Act Now to Address Chafer Beetle Damage

by Michelle Frilund |

Birds and animals are once again tearing up lawns digging for Chafer beetle larvae, prompting the cities of Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam and Port Moody to remind residents of available resources to help reclaim their yards.

Each City provides online resources to residents on effective prevention and control options, including a year-round schedule of activities based on the beetle’s lifecycle. All three cities ban the use of cosmetic pesticides and are promoting natural lawn-care techniques, posted on their respective websites.

Checking for infestations
Beetle larvae (or grubs) – which feed on grass roots and are a tasty meal for birds, raccoons and skunks – are typically active from July to March. They are smaller than a dime, with brown heads and white, C-shaped bodies.

January to March is the ideal time to check for active grubs, as by April and May, they have moved into the resting (pupa) and adult stages.

However, residents can still check now for infestations by looking for fresh lawn damage (torn-up grass and overturned clumps of sod) that occurred in recent months.

Prevention and control 
The best defense against the Chafer beetle is healthy turf, achieved through routine aerating, dethatching, fertilizing, deep watering and high mowing.

From April to June, residents are advised to: 

  • Aerate lawns.
  • Rake or till damaged turf. It is not necessary to remove damaged turf, but residents can dispose of it at Meadows Landscape Recycling Centre (17799 Ferry Slip Road, Pitt Meadows). Do not dispose of turf in your green cart. 
  • Re-seed damaged areas, using a roller on newly seeded areas for a good seed-soil contact. Apply a starter fertilizer. 
  • For undamaged lawns, apply natural organic or slow-growth fertilizer. 
  • Maintain a grass height of at least 5 cm and leave clippings on the lawn to act as mulch.
  • Water newly planted lawns frequently (daily if necessary) to keep the soil surface moist until you see about half of the new seeds have germinated. Check your City website for watering restriction exemptions.
  • Once lawns are established, follow local watering restrictions and water twice weekly for a total of about 2.5 cm (depth of a tuna can) per week. Water on and off at 30-minute intervals to avoid run-off and allow the water to soak in. 
  • Pre-order nematodes from the local garden centre, for application in late July.
  • Nematodes, a microscopic worm that feeds on beetle larvae, can be an effective treatment for infested lawns, provided they are properly refrigerated and correctly applied, and lawns are kept moist before treatment and for about two weeks afterwards (see the applicable city website for watering restriction exemptions). Heterorhabditis bacterlophora is the recommended type of nematode species.

Other prevention tips:

  • If you hire landscapers, make sure their tools are clean and not contaminated.
  • If you purchase topsoil, ask the vendor how they ensure their soil isn’t contaminated.
  • Consider planting lawn species that are resistant to Chafer beetle, such as microclover and tall fescue grass. Also consider replacing turf with low-maintenance, beetle-resistant plants such as Dutch white clover, brass buttons, Irish or Scotch moss, little star creeper, creeping thyme. or goldmoss stonecrop.

For more information and helpful videos, visit your City website:
www.coquitlam.ca/chaferbeetle
www.portcoquitlam.ca/chaferbeetle
www.portmoody.ca/chaferbeetle

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Media Contacts:

Kathleen Vincent
Manager, Corporate Communications
City of Coquitlam
604.927.3019

Pardeep Purewal
Manager, Communications
& Administrative Services
City of Port Coquitlam
604.927.5335

Rosemary Lodge

Manager of Civic Affairs – Corporate Services
City of Port Moody
604.469.4724