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Jul 05, 2017 Return to Headlines

Use Nematodes to Reclaim Your Lawn From Chafer Beetle

by Michelle Frilund |

Tri-City residents can start to reclaim their lawns from the European Chafer beetle by ordering nematodes now from garden stores and landscaping professionals, to apply around late July to mid-August.

During the spring, Chafer beetles have been feeding, mating and laying eggs that will hatch into grubs in the summer. The grubs weaken lawns by feeding on grass roots, making the turf easy for birds and animals to peel back as they search for grubs to eat.

Nematodes – microscopic worms that feed on Chafer grubs – are an effective and natural treatment that complies with the city bans on cosmetic pesticide use across the Tri-Cities. They’re being recommended by the cities of Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam and Port Moody. 

All three cities have posted information and videos on their respective website:

Nematodes can be purchased from garden centres and landscaping professionals and should be ordered now for application around July to mid-August. Heterorhabditis bacteriophora is the recommended type. The Cities’ Chafer beetle webpages provide instructions and videos about applying nematodes, along with information about water exemption permits available for nematode varieties that require watering beyond what is permitted by the summer water restrictions.

Residents can apply for a water exemption from their respective cities to water outside of watering restrictions. Check the respective City website for full details on water exemption permits.

Regional water restrictions were changed in 2016 to allow for water exemption permits that are purchased during Stage 1 and 2 water restriction levels to remain valid until expiration. Permits will not be renewed if the region moves into Stage 3 or 4 water restriction levels.

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

To maintain healthy 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.

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:

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Media Contacts: 

Pardeep Purewal
Manager, Communications
& Administrative Services
City of Port Coquitlam
604.927.5335
purewalp@portcoquitlam.ca 

Kathleen Vincent
Manager, Corporate Communications
City of Coquitlam
604.927.3019
kvincent@coquitlam.ca

Rosemary Lodge
Manager of Civic Affairs – Corporate Services
City of Port Moody
604.469.4724
rlodge@portmoody.ca