The European Chafer Beetle is an introduced species that wreaks havoc on lawns. The grub itself likes to eat the roots of grasses and turf, destroying the plants. The biggest problem causing the most visual damage is the fact that crows, skunks, and raccoons will tear apart what remains of your lawn in order to feast on this delicacy.
European Chafer Beetle is a coppery tan coloured little beetle just a little over 1 cm long. The adult grubs are twice as long, white with a brown head and 6 legs. They are curved into a “C” shape. The grubs feed in fall and spring.
Their life cycle is only one year long, so their population increases rapidly. Adult chafers mate on warm evenings in June and July, and then the females lay 40-50 eggs below the soil. The eggs usually hatch in July to early August, and the larvae begin to feed on the roots of grass. This is the common time for animals to pull back turf in search of a meal, destroying lawns in their path.
How to Determine if you Have a Problem
An excellent way to determine if you have an infestation before your lawn gets ripped apart is to peel back a square foot of sod and examine the soil underneath. If you count 5-10 grubs in one square foot of lawn area, you have a problem.
Healthy lawns are better able to withstand some damage from small amounts of grubs. Irrigate deeply 2 to 3 times a week. Raise your mowing height. The female beetles prefer shorter, dryer lawns to lay their eggs in.
If crows, raccoons and skunks have begun to rip apart your lawn, let them finish feeding before you begin alternative methods of control. They are messy but effective and will knock down a huge percent of the population. Your next step is to apply Nematodes in July.
Applying Nematodes to Battle the Chafer Beetle
Nematodes are microscopic round worms, a naturally occurring organism. The Hererorhabditis bacteriophora is a nematode which moves through the soil. They are not harmful to humans, pets or other animals, including bees and earthworms. They specifically target grubs by eating the larvae from the inside. They infect grubs 48 hours after application and will kill them 2 weeks after infecting them.
The only time you can take action against the beetle is during mid July to early August when the larvae are at their most vulnerable stage. After this period, the immune system of the larvae is strong enough to repel any action taken against them.
They must be applied to a wet lawn on a cloudy evening. Application on dry lawn or in full sun conditions will kill them, and they won't be able to combat your chafer beetle problem. The water will keep the grubs toward the surface of the soil and will enable the nematodes to move more freely. You must keep your lawn moist for about a week or two after application, watering daily. You may need to obtain a watering permit from your municipality.
To Order Nematodes
Call Art's Nursery at 604.882.1201 to order/reserve Nematodes or use our online Plant/Product Request Form and we will call you when we have them in stock.