Invasive beetle damaging Nanaimo turf fields

Invasive beetle damaging Nanaimo turf fields
Images courtesy the City of Nanaimo
Damage by the European Chafer beetle can be seen at Nanaimo City Hall (left) and Bowen Cemetery (right).

An invasive beetle is causing damage to turf fields around Nanaimo, and city staff are working to reduce the impact of the pests.

The European Chafer beetle usually causes sporadic damage, but this year has been particularly challenging, according to a release.

The beetle was first found in B.C. in 2001 in New Westminster. It has since slowly spread around the province and has been confirmed in Richmond, Delta, Surrey, Abbotsford, Mission, Revelstoke and Nanaimo.

The adult beetle is a tan coloured, medium-sized beetle about 12 mm long. The larvae have a C-shaped body and brown head.

“There are several similar beetle species present in British Columbia which can be confused with European Chafer larvae or adults,” an information page on the beetle by the B.C. government says.

In Nanaimo, the city is focusing on reducing the impact of the invasive beetle in priority areas like City Hall and the Bowen Cemetery.

“Despite the outbreak of grubs in Nanaimo this fall, City staff are working hard to repair our parks and other grassy areas,” Leonard Krog, mayor of Nanaimo said in a release. “With management and time, these unsightly areas will recover. Please be patient as we face this collective challenge.”

The city says the beetle will continue to be an ongoing issue, but impacts can be minimized by following best practices.

Damage related to the beetles can also occur by animals like skunks, raccoons and birds digging up the fields to feed on the grubs.

To control the beetles, the B.C. government recommends mowing to a 6 to 9 centimetre height, as taller grass is less preferred to lay in. As birds and mammals feed on the larvae, it is not recommended to reseed your lawn until the feeding is complete to help decrease the population. Don’t remove soil from infested areas, as the beetle can spread in this process. Do not bring plants from infested areas.

Treating for the beetle is best done between April to September using conventional larvacides, predatory nematodes, and microbial larvacides.

Laura BroughamLaura Brougham

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