European Chafer Beetle

The European Chafer beetle is here to stay, but residents can minimize the damage and once again be proud of their lawns by changing how they care for their grass. Remember: the best defense against the Chafer beetle is a healthy lawn.

The City of Port Coquitlam is working with other Tri-City communities to help residents deal with this invasive pest.

Read this page and check the links at left to learn about effective prevention and control options involving natural lawn-care techniques. Please note that the use of cosmetic pesticides is banned in Port Coquitlam by the Pesticide Use and Control Bylaw.

What is the European Chafer Beetle?

European Chafer beetle is an invasive insect pest that has spread throughout Metro Vancouver over the last decade.

Adult Chafer beetles are tan or brown, measuring approximately 1.5cm (0.5in) long. The larvae (or grubs) have brown heads, white C-shaped bodies, six prominent legs and are smaller than a dime.

The beetles damage lawns in two main ways:

  • The larvae feed on the roots of grass during the summer.
  • With the grass weakened, birds and animals can easily peel back portions of turf in the fall and winter to search underneath for plump larvae to eat.
How do I know if I have a Chafer beetle infestation?

Chafer beetle infestation is often most visible when raccoons, birds and other wildlife, eager to eat the grubs, begin digging up grasses and damaging turf.

Between January and March you can monitor your grass for grubs ( see Monitor section below for instructions ). If there are more than five grubs per section, you may want to consider Chafer beetle control.

At other times of the year, lawn damage (e.g. torn-up grass and overturned clumps of sod) over the fall and winter months is another sign of an infestation.

HOW TO CHECK FOR CHAFER BEETLE GRUBS (VIDEO)

How do I address or prevent a Chafer beetle infestation?

Maintaining a healthy lawn is the best way to prevent and control an infestation. It’s also important to understand the life cycle of the beetle to tailor your year-round lawn care. Here are some general tips for controlling and preventing infestations:

Monitor
  • Monitor for infestations from January to March:
  • Cut three sides of a 30cm x 30cm square (about the length of a ruler) of grass to a depth of 5cm (about 2in).
  • Fold back the square patch and count the grubs in the soil by digging around.
  • Cut five more squares of sod/turf in different areas of your lawn, count the grubs in each square.
Control

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.

Apply nematodes (Heterorhabditis bacterlophora is recommended) in late July. Contact your local garden centre to pre-order nematodes ahead of time and closely follow the instructions, including extensive watering for some types. A lawn watering exemption permit is required.

Please note that most chemical insecticides are prohibited under the City’s Pesticide Use and Control Bylaw.

Prevention

Keep your lawn healthy by:

 

  • Aerating – best done in spring and fall to improve the health of lawns.
  • High mowing – keep grass at least 6cm high and leave clippings on the lawn to act as mulch.
  • Consider alternative ground cover such as brass buttons, Irish moss / Scotch moss, little star creeper, creeping thyme, goldmoss stonecrop or microclover.
  • If you hire landscapers, check to make sure they are properly cleaning their tools to avoid contamination.
  • If you purchase topsoil, ask the vendor how they ensure their soil isn’t contaminated.
  • Read more natural lawn care tips.

Damaged Turf:

It is not necessary to remove damaged turf, but residents may rototill the soil if they wish, or dispose of contaminated turf at Wastech (1200 United Blvd, Coquitlam) or Meadows Landscape Recycling Centre (17799 Ferry Slip Road, Pitt Meadows). Do not put in your green cart.

How to Maintain a Healthy Lawn (Video)

How to Apply Nematodes


Steps for Applying Nematodes

  1. Buy nematodes from a reputable supplier. Most specialty garden stores are more likely to carry the most effective Heterorhabditis bacteriophora (Hb) family of nematodes. There are approximately 50 million nematodes in an average package, which will cover 750 square feet.
  2. Store nematodes in proper conditions and be sure to use them as soon as possible. Because they are live organisms, they will normally only last 2 weeks in a refrigerator that is between 37° and 42°
  3. Apply nematodes in or near the 3rd week of July. Make sure it is either a cloudy day, or you are applying them in the evening as they are very sensitive to light and heat.

As not all varieties of nematodes require extensive watering, please consult with the garden store before buying.

Calendar of Lawn Care and Chafer Life Cycle


Tailoring your lawn care to the Chafer beetle’s lifecycle can help prevent and control infestations.

January to March

How To Deal With Chafer Beetle

  • Look for damaged turf and monitor for grubs in cut sections of lawn.
  • If more than five grubs are found per section, consider treatment in the summer.

How To Keep Your Lawn Healthy

  • No maintenance needed

Chafer Life Cycle

  • The grubs continue to grow as they feed.
  • They remain within 5cm of the ground surface
  • Predators cause the most turf damage at this time as they dig up the grubs for food.
April to June

How To Deal With Chafer Beetle

  • Rake over damaged turf.
  • Apply a light soil topdressing and reseed damaged areas.
  • Water newly planted lawns frequently (daily if necessary) to keep the soil surface moist until 50 per cent of the seeds have germinated.
  • Follow sprinkling regulations and exemptions.
  • Pre-order nematodes from the local garden centre, for application in summer. for grubs in cut sections of lawn.
  • If more than five grubs are found per section, consider treatment in the summer.

How To Keep Your Lawn Healthy

  • Aerate lawn.
  • Use a natural organic or quality slow-release synthetic fertilizer.
  • Turf experts recommend home lawns receive three to four pounds of nitrogen in a balanced fertilizer per 1,000 square foot of lawn each year.
  • Maintain a grass height of at least 6 cm and leave clippings on the lawn to act as mulch.
  • Follow local watering restriction 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.

Chafer Life Cycle

  • The grubs have grown into beetles.
  • The beetles fly into the trees to mate and feed.
  • female beetles deposit eggs (up to 50 per female) back in the soil.
  • Minimal turf damage at this time
July to August

How To Deal With Chafer Beetle

  • Apply a nematode treatment using  instructions on package or online.
  • Thoroughly water lawn prior to and after
    application if required by the instructions (water exemption permit required)
  • Follow sprinkling regulations and exemptions.

How To Keep Your Lawn Healthy

  • Maintain a grass height of at least 6 cm and leave clippings on the lawn to act as mulch.
  • Follow local watering restriction and water twice weekly for a total of about 2.5 cm (depth of a tuna can) per week.

Chafer Life Cycle

  • Eggs hatch
  • New grubs begin to feed on grass roots.
  • Infected turf may feel spongy when stepped on.
  • Damage to turf may start to be visible in brown, dying patches of grass.
September

How To Deal With Chafer Beetle

How To Keep Your Lawn Healthy

  • Use a natural organic or quality slow-release synthetic fertilizer.
  • Maintain a grass height of at least 5 cm and leave clippings on the lawn to act as mulch.

Chafer Life Cycle

  • Grubs continue to feed on grass roots.
  • Infected turf may feel spongy when stepped on.
  • Damage to turf may start to be visible in brown, dying patches of grass.
October to November

How To Deal With Chafer Beetle

  • Monitor for grubs in cut sections of lawn.
  • Cover up exposed soil to deter further damage from animals

How To Keep Your Lawn Healthy

  • Apply an organic fertilizer or a quality slow-release synthetic fertilizer in early fall.
  • Aerate lawn

Chafer Life Cycle

  • The grubs continue to grow as they feed.
  • They remain within 5 cm of the ground surface.
  • Predators cause turf damage at this time as they dig up the grubs for food.
December

How To Deal With Chafer Beetle

  • Continue to cover up exposed soil to deter further damage from animals.

How To Keep Your Lawn Healthy

  • No maintenance needed at this time.

Chafer Life Cycle

  • The grubs continue to grow as they feed.
  • They remain within 5 cm of the ground surface.
  • Predators cause turf damage at this time as they dig up the grubs for food.

Contact

Public Works
Tel 604.927.5480 or 604.927-5496
Email publicworks@portcoquitlam.ca

 

Location and Mailing Address

Public Works
1737 Broadway Street
Port Coquitlam BC V3C 2M9

Business Hours

7:30 am to 4:00 pm, Monday to Friday (excluding statutory holidays)