Cosmetic Pesticide Use
If you're still reaching for the pesticide container to rid your yard of pests, you might want to think twice. Part of caring for your lawns and gardens is accepting that each year will bring its own unique conditions along with weeds and insects. When we rely on the cosmetic use of pesticides around our homes and gardens, there can be a significant unintentional impact on human health, animals, plants and the environment.
The Cosmetic Pesticide Use Bylaw that prohibits the use of pesticides to maintain outdoor trees, shrubs, flowers, other ornamental plants and turf (lawns) on residential and public land.
Have you noticed patches of dead, spongy grass with areas dug up by crows and raccoons? These are signs that your lawn may have a chafer beetle infestation.
What is Chafer Beetle?
The European Chafer Beetle is an invasive turf pest that was first discovered in the Lower Mainland in 2001.
Living most of its life in the soil, the beetle's wormlike larvae do the most damage by feeding heavily on grass roots, creating visible patches of dead and dying turf. The chafer larvae (grubs) damage lawns and boulevards by feeding on the roots of turf grass, resulting in the appearance of brown (dead) grass patches in affected lawns.
Natural predators such as raccoons and crows help reduce their population, but their digging for the larvae can leave quite a mess.
Chafer Beetle Cycle
How to minimize Chafer Beetle infestations
A healthy lawn with dense roots is of no interest to Chafer Beetles. Follow these steps to keep your lawn thick and healthy:
- Aerate regularly
- Top dress with sandy soil
- Water regularly
- Reduce mowing
Raccoons and crows digging up your lawn are actually helping by removing many of the beetle larvae. Rake to remove any pulled up sections, and add a top layer of compost and grass seed in the spring to help a healthier lawn return.
For more information, review the European Chafer (PDF) handout from the BC Ministry of Agriculture.