The City of New Westminster has temporarily suspended the nematode subsidy program with the increasing availability of effective, lower cost alternate products at local retail outlets. The European Chafer is likely to remain an ongoing issue in the region, and continuing with independent lawn management will help control damage and minimize the spread of the insect. Supportive informational brochures on healthy residential lawn care remain available on the City website and at City facilities.
Since 2019, a microbial product that can be used to manage European chafer beetle was approved and is now available in Canada and readily available at most garden centers. The active ingredient is Bacillus thuringiensis galleriae (also called Btg), which kills larvae or beetles after they have ingested it. The cost of Bacillus containing products are lower than the cost of nematodes. The use of these newer products is permitted within the City’s Pesticide Bylaw.
The best non-pesticide defense against the European Chafer available to home owners is to follow industry best practice measures to maintain a healthy lawn as resilient turf appears to better withstand the effects of this pest. Alternative ground covers that are resistant to the Chafer are also appropriate in some instances. Resources to help residents take preventive measures and manage the spread of the European Chafer remain available on the City’s website. The use of preventative, biological and cultural practices are all identified as best practices as referenced in Metro Vancouver’s “Best Management Practices for European Chafer Beetle (August 2021)”
See also: Lawn Watering Regulations & Permits
The European Chafer, Rhizotrogus majalis, is a serious turf pest that first appeared in New Westminster lawns and boulevards in 2001. The European Chafer, in its grub stage, is very destructive to turf and lawns. The grubs feed on the roots of grasses during the summer and through to the spring. Considerable damage to turf can also occur in the fall and winter from animals, especially skunks and birds, digging up the grass to feed on the larger grubs.
In 2008, to assist New Westminster residents’ efforts to combat the European Chafer and encourage safe and effective biological management approaches, City Council endorsed a program to subsidize residents’ purchases of nematodes with access to watering permits to support the product application. Utilization of the subsidy program trended towards a decline in utilization between 2010 and 2014, and again between 2019 and 2021.
Suspension of the program commenced in 2022 and will be monitored by staff in subsequent years.