Chafer beetle control

As you may have noticed, many lawns in the Vancouver area have been destroyed by animals who are foraging for chafer beetle larvae which can burrow under your lawn. As licensed pesticide applicators with up-to-date documentation, we offer two cost-effective solutions to combat this problem. We follow all laws and procedures strictly to maximize effectiveness, minimize costs, and keep the environmental footprint at its lowest possible level. See below for the types of treatment we offer.

Key benefits

  • Peace of mind knowing your lawn will not be torn up
  • No need to chase animals off your property!
  • No need for expensive turf repairs in following years

Please note that, being compliant with City of Vancouver health bylaw 9535, we can only apply Merit to control or destroy chafer beetles which have caused infestation to property, being the presence of beetles and their larvae in numbers or under conditions which involve an immediate or potential risk of substantial loss or damage. If this does not apply to your property, we are only able to use nematodes.

Our service area for both nematodes and Merit is restricted to Vancouver.

Chafer beetles

The European chafer beetle has ravaged lawns in our neighbourhood and across the city. The lawns that you have seen dug up are due to animals, mainly raccoons, skunks and crows searching for beetle larvae to feed on. The life cycle of the chafer beetle is such that from late July until early June they are underground as larvae, and only emerge in late June as adults. They have a very short life span as adults, living for only a few weeks before laying their eggs and dying in July.

What can I do about it?

The only time you can take action against the beetle is during mid July to early August when the larvae are at their most vulnerable stage. After this period, the immune system of the larvae is strong enough to repel any action taken against them. There are two treatment options, which are listed below and which both have their positives and negatives. It is important to note that both options are preventative in nature. If you do not take action now, and you find that animals are destroying your lawn later in the year, there is very little you can do until next year to prevent damage. There are two cost effective treatments available.

Treatment options:


Merit is a low toxicity pesticide produced by Bayer. It signals the beetles to stop feeding, meaning they starve to death. It is extremely effective and because of low use rates and its selectivity, has a low environmental impact. After being watered in, the product enters the soil, meaning animals and humans have minimal potential for exposure. It also breaks down rapidly, meaning that even if you did want to dig up the lawn to convert to a garden or other use in the future, there is little to no chance of danger. As it binds to the soil there is no risk of leaching when applied properly. It can only be purchased by a professional with a current applicator’s license.


After application Merit must be watered into the lawn for about 30 minutes, or until the granules have been watered into the soil.


Nematodes are microscopic round worms which are sprayed over the lawn in the third and fourth weeks of July. These live organisms seek out and hunt chafer beetles, eating the larvae from the inside. These microorganisms pose no danger to humans, other animals or other species of beneficial insects. They stay in the soil for several weeks, before they themselves die off. Although various studies have shown nematodes to be anywhere from 60-80 percent effective, my experience has been that they are actually more effective when applied properly.


Before application, the lawn must be watered for several hours. After application the lawn must again be watered for several hours, to move the nematodes down into the soil. As nematodes are extremely sensitive to UV light, the application is done in the early morning or late evening. If the nematodes are not properly watered in, they will die, and will not provide any protection. The lawn must also be watered daily for the next two weeks in order to keep the nematodes alive in the soil and to facilitate their movement to hunt down the chafer larvae. A watering permit will be provided to allow you to water daily, during the morning, for several weeks after application.

Pros and cons

Merit Nematodes
Effectiveness 90% 65%
Convenience High Low
Room for error Low Medium
Environmental impact Low Negligible
Organic No Yes
Cost effective Yes Yes

Can I apply these two treatments myself?

Merit can only be purchased and applied by a licensed professional.

Nematodes, however, as a completely organic option, can be purchased at hardware stores and applied by yourself. One option is to mix them up in a watering can and manually spread them over the lawn, stirring constantly to keep the nematodes suspended in the solution. You can also purchase them in a container which attaches to a hose. The caveat here being that as they are both invisible and very light, it is very hard to know how many are remaining in the package when applying, which can result in uneven application. As purchasing from a hardware store also means that there is a more complex supply chain, there are more chances that the nematodes were at some point left in temperatures which are higher than their tolerance and have already perished prior to application.

Summing up

In conclusion, if you have a smaller lawn, or a larger lawn with a sprinkler system which you can program accordingly, the discipline and time to water your lawn daily for two weeks, and don’t mind having a bit of uncertainty regarding the effectiveness of the treatment, nematodes may be the best choice for you.

If you have a larger lawn without a sprinkler system which covers the entire area, you have experienced a chafer beetle infestation in the past, and value the peace of mind of having the best protection available, Merit may be the best choice. You will also need to make sure that no one enters the lawn for the 24 hour period after application and be committed to having it watered in right after application. I can also turn on the sprinklers after application.

Contact: | 604-441-LAWN (5296)