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European chafer beetle chewing up lawns in Saint John region

Click to play video: 'Quispamsis landlord speaks out about chafer beetles' Quispamsis landlord speaks out about chafer beetles
WATCH: A pesky beetle is tearing up lawns at homes and businesses in the Saint John region. Tim Roszell explains – Jul 2, 2019

A pesky beetle is tearing up lawns at homes and businesses in the Saint John region.

Quispamsis resident Colin Tower said the European chafer beetle tore up his side lawn last year. The beetle begins its life cycle as a worm-like grub before developing into a beetle and flying away to reproduce.

The beetle burrows into the ground, feeding off the roots of grass. Crows and other birds will claw away dead grass, digging for the chafers for food, a combination that effectively ruins a once healthy lawn.

“I was upset, actually, because my lawn had usually been quite good,” Tower said. “And it really did a lot of damage to it.”

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Tower looked on as a local landscaping company sprayed his entire lawn with a special insecticide spray. It’s a preventative measure on the areas not impacted before and is used to help mitigate any future damage, according to Lorna Pond of Urban Landscaping Ltd. in Rothesay.

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Pond said she’s been in the landscaping business for thirty years. European chafer beetles, she said, started to emerge in the region within the last decade. She said the problem is becoming bigger every year, especially in the Kennebecasis Valley, Hampton, Sussex and east Saint John.

“We might have had on our slate of production to do maybe 60 to 70 customers,” she began. “That’s probably even a high estimate of people that we needed to go treat grubs for. And this year, for instance, we’re probably well over 250 (customers).”

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Tower is hopeful he can return his lawn to its prior beauty with a little hard work. He said it’s cost him between $500 and $1,000 in lawn care over the past year, and he doesn’t believe the problem is going to go away, noting friends in his neighbourhood are also experiencing issues.

“I did overseed last fall, and some of that is coming back this year,” he said. “But there’s still patches on my lawn where it’s not good.”

 

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