Act Now to Address Chafer Beetle Damage
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 and lawn alternatives, 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 with low maintenance lawn seed mixtures, using a roller on newly seeded areas for a good seed-soil contact.
- Consider establishing a lawn alternative.
- For undamaged lawns, apply natural, organic or slow growth fertilizer.
- Maintain a grass height of at least 6 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 your lawn for an hour, once a week – deep watering will help speed up recovery after dry summer months.
- 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).
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 examples of non-turf ground cover alternatives, go to Metro Vancouver’s Grow Green Guide.
For more information and helpful videos, visit your City website:
Manager of Communications & Admin Services
City of Port Coquitlam
Tel 604.927.5335 Cel 604.218.0533
Manager, Corporate Communications
City of Coquitlam
Manager, Communications & Engagement
City of Port Moody