Lawn watering restrictions to be lifted for beetle battle

Langley City gives approval to new rules to fight European chafer beetle invasion

The arrival of European chafer beetles in the Lower Mainland has led to the widespread destruction of lawns as birds and small animals dig up the grubs.

Langley City residents battling European chafer beetle infestations will be allowed to keep watering their lawns during summertime sprinkling bans.

The change is contained in an amended municipal water shortage response plan bylaw that was given final approval by council on March 21.

The revisions will bring City regulations in line with the Greater Vancouver Regional District Utilities Commission decision to introduce water restrictions earlier this year and allow exceptions for commercial cleaning services and cases of beetle infestation.

Last summer, hot and dry weather forced Metro Vancouver to impose Stage Three water restrictions that banned all lawn sprinkling to prevent potential water shortages.

That ban included watering lawns to kill off chafer beetle infestations, which are fought using beneficial nematodes, tiny parasites that kill beetle larvae.

Turf has to be kept moist for nematodes to work.

They must be applied when the beetle grubs are young, usually between late July and early August. Most of the damage to lawns occurs when crows and raccoons dig them up to eat the grubs.

It’s believed the beetles arrived in the Lower Mainland in 2001 through a tainted shipment of soil in New Westminster.

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