European Chafer Beetles Invade the Burbs

This blog post is for people who have not yet turned their front lawn into a productive garden space.

Garden Boxes
Garden Boxes

If you have not yet turned your lawn into a productive space with garden boxes (like mine pictured to the right) and your lawn looks damaged or is being dug up by birds, raccoons and skunks, don’t bother trying to lay down orange fencing or other stuff to keep it from being dug up. Your efforts are probably futile because you may have a European Chafer beetle infestation.

The Chafer beetle is a non-native invasive pest that feeds on grass roots resulting in dead patches of grass on your lawn. The Chafer beetle larvae (also known as grubs) are also a delicious treat for birds, skunks, raccoons and other predators that will dig up your lawn to feed on the grubs in the underlying soil.

Chafer beetle grubs are smaller than a dime, have brown heads and white C-shaped bodies.  To verify an infestation, cut out a square patch of lawn 5 cm deep. You will be able to see the grubs in the soil if they are present.

Other than putting garden boxes all over your front lawn, the second best way to control a Chafer beetle infestation is by applying a nematode treatment on your damaged lawn in late July.

These live parasitic nematodes can be pre-ordered or purchased from your local garden centre. It is important to follow the product’s application instructions and to practice proper lawn care to ensure success in controlling Chafer beetles.

Because the treated soil must be moist before, during and after the nematode application, the City of Coquitlam is offering water exemption permits free of charge starting on July 15 and ending on August 15.

Coquitlam residents must apply in person at Engineering Customer Service at City Hall (3000 Guildford Way). Applicants must bring proof of purchase of the nematode product – either a receipt for the purchase or an invoice from a company to the applicant’s address showing the nematode treatment service.