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Art Knapp
So Much More Than Plants
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Art Knapp Articles

How to Get Rid of and Prevent a Chafer Beetle Infestation

in Informational

Damaged Lawn.jpgPhoto via wikipedia

What Is A Schafer Beetle?

The European Chafer beetle is a grub that feeds on the roots of plants. It was first identified in the Lower Mainland in New West Minster in 2001 and has since spread to many municipalities across Metro Vancouver. Here in Surrey, the Chafer Beetle has become an increasingly serious pest and many homeowners are frustrated by brown, torn apart lawns.


Photo via surrey.ca

How Do I know if I Have a Chafer Beetle Infestation?

The most serious damage is caused by birds, skunks, and other predators digging up your lawn in search of these grubs. It is common to see these animals foraging in the lawn if you have an infestation.

  • Grass might have a “spongy” feel due to the grubs tunnelling below
  • In drier weather, damaged caused by the grubs feeding on the roots of the lawn results in brown patches.
  • The most definitive way to check for an infestation is to pull the grass back and physically check for the beetles. If you find more than 5-10 grubs in a 30cm by 30cm section of grass, you likely have an infestation. 

How Do I Treat a Chafer Beetle Infestation?

For a long time, the most common way to treat these grubs was a pesticide spray. The problem with these sprays, however, was that there is evidence that some of the ingredients used in them is harmful to pollinators. These ingredients were banned in BC and, as a result, these products were taken off the market. After all, it doesn’t seem appropriate to put our honeybee population in danger so that we can have pretty lawns, does it?

Luckily, there exists a natural alternative that is better for the environment - beneficial nematodes!  Beneficial nematodes are tiny parasites that enter beetle larvae and kill them. We are expecting our nematodes to arrive in the coming weeks and they go quickly, so don’t snooze. Give us a call to check availability.

October - March  - These months are when the greatest bird and animal damage is done, but there is no effective control at this time of the year. Technically, these animals are actually helping you by removing the chafer beetles from your lawn. Rake and remove the pulled up sections.

April - June  - Visit your local garden centre and pick up some nematodes.

July - Apply nematodes. Raise mowing height to 6-9cm and leave clippings if possible. Water your lawn. Apply the nematodes according to the directions on the package. Water the lawn again after the application to push nematodes into the soil. It is important to keep the soil  moist for two to three weeks after applying.

August - September  - Water twice per week. Apply a slow release fertilizer.

How do I prevent a Chafer Beetle Infestation?

Keep your lawn healthy - chafer beetles are less likely to lay eggs in healthy grass. Make sure your grass is getting regular fertilization and liming, proper aeration, and keep grass longer.

Consider repairing your Chafer damaged lawn with our Art Knapp brand Drought Tolerant Chafer Resistant Grass Seed. This tall fescue grass seed is far tougher than conventional grasses but still makes a lush, green lawn. Because it does not produce thatch, it is not attractive to the Chafer Beetle. 


Most of all, treating and preventing Chafer Beetle infestations require a lot of care and patience.  This problem can be very frustrating, so a preventative approach should be taken if you do not yet have an infestation or if you have applied nematodes to battle a current infestation.

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