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What is the European Chafer beetle?

grubs The European Chafer beetle is an invasive insect pest. Its larvae feed on the roots of grasses, causing serious damage to lawns.

Adult Chafer beetles are tan or brown, measuring approximately 1.5cm (0.5in) long. The larvae (or grubs) have brown heads and white, C-shaped bodies, and they’re smaller than a dime. Read more about their life cycle.

 

How do I know if I have a Chafer beetle infestation?

lawn 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 by cutting back a section of the turf and digging around in the dirt. If there are more than five grubs per section, you may want to consider Chafer beetle control.
 

Managing Chafer beetle

Monitoring:

  • Cut three sides of a 30cm x 30cm square (about the length of a ruler) of grass to a depth of 5cm (about 2”).
  • 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.
  • If more than 5-10 grubs per square are found, then chafer control may be necessary.
    Control:
  • Apply nematodes (Heterorhabditis bacteriophora) during the third week of July. Proper nematode application is the key to success:
  • Chemical insecticides are restricted under the City’s Pesticide Use Control Bylaw 

Prevention:

  • A healthy lawn is the best protection against chafer grub damage 
    • Mow High (5 cm) and leave clippings on your lawn, to act as mulch
    • Overseed, to maintain a dense, healthy, weed free lawn
    • Promote deep roots by watering for no more than one hour, once a week
    • Lime your lawn in the fall and spring to counteract the soil’s natural acidity. Acidic soil prevents optimum growth and health of your lawn.
    • Aerate in the spring and fall to improve the health of lawns
  • Use barriers (e.g. netting, fencing, chicken wire) to prevent further damage to the lawn from foraging animals.
  • Reduce exterior lighting on your property, particularly during the mating and egg laying season in June and July. This can help reduce the number of Chafer grubs in your lawn.

Alternative Lawn Options

  • Convert your lawn to gardens or raised beds for vegetables and/or ornamental plants
  • Look into lawn alternative seed mixes at your local nurseries.
    • Lawn alternative seed mixes may include:
      • Yellow Daisy — Chrysanthemum multicaule
      • Creeping Daisy — Chrysanthemum paludosum
      • Dwarf California Poppy — Eschscholzia caespitosa
      • California Poppy — Eschscholzia californica
      • Sheep Fescue — Festuca ovina
      • Hard Fescue — Festuca ovina duriscula
      • Sweet Alyssum — Lobularia maritima
      • Five-Spot — Nemophila maculate
      • Baby Blue-Eyes — Nemophila menziesii
      • Creeping Thyme — Thymus serpyllum
      • Strawberry Clover — Trifolium fragiferum
      • Johnny Jump-Up — Viola tricolor
    • Check out what the City has been doing!

Other prevention tips include:

  • If you hire landscapers, make sure their tools are clean and not contaminated.
  • If you purchase top soil, you may want to ask the vendor how they ensure their soil isn’t contaminated.
  • Dispose of contaminated lawn at Meadows Landscaping and Recycling Centre (17799 Ferry Slip Road, Pitt Meadows). Do not put it in your green cart.
    How can I repair my lawn?
  • Lightly rake over damaged turf areas to remove thatch and debris.
  • Top dress with 1-2 cm of compost or topdressing soil mix
  • Overseed damaged lawn areas.
  • Lightly rake seeded area for good seed/soil contact
  • Water the seeded area frequently ensuring that it remains moist until 50% of the seeds have germinated.

Lawn Care Calendar 625

Last updated: 08/05/2017 2:51:35 PM