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Metro Vancouver residents battle European chafer beetle

We appear to be losing the battle against the European chafer beetle. The invasive bugs first dug into New Westminster soil back in 2001, and animals feeding on them have dug up countless lawns.

This time of year the bugs lay eggs in lawns, which produce larvae that are coveted by animals.

“Skunks, crows, raccoons, they’re all going after the larvae that are underneath the grass…they’re pulling the grass back to try to get to the grubs,” said Peter Fitzmaurice of GardenWorks.

Many rely on nematodes to combat the pests. The tiny worms are up to 90 per cent effective, if applied correctly and at the right time.

“The nematodes, when you apply them they go into the soil, they search out for the larvae and they climb inside and they basically eat and parasitize the larvae,” said Fitzmaurice.

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The City of Port Coquitlam is such a big fan of nematodes, it made a video about them.

Since nematodes only last a couple of weeks in their packaging, they have to be pre-ordered from garden centres and time is running out.

There are alternatives that don’t involve insecticides, such as keeping your grass healthy and not mowing it too short.

“A big part of it is to make the grass longer so that the adults that are flying around now can’t get to the soil to lay the eggs,” said Fitzmaurice.

-with files from Linda Aylesworth

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