Tiny insects could ruin your lawn this summer, residents and gardeners in Mansfield and Ashfield have been warned.
Chafer beetles are only one centimetre long and fly very poorly. But the damage they can wreak is huge.
The beetles, which are sometimes called Maybugs, can be seen flying around gardens in May and June.
They have copper-coloured wings and black or metallic green heads, and they hover about 45 centimetres (18 inches) above the surface.
“During these months, they will mate and lay their eggs into the turf,” explains lawn care professional Paul McLellan, of Mansfield firm Four Seasons Lawn Care Ltd.
“The beetles themselves don’t do any damage and eventually die off. But they leave behind their eggs, which hatch into chafer grubs.
“These grubs live in the soil and feed on plant roots of all types. But they are particularly fond of the grass roots of lawns.
“The grubs quickly burrow down into the lawn and feed on the roots. Effectively, they kill the lawn from within.”
The chafer grubs, which are coloured white or cream, are about two centimetres long, with light brown heads and three pairs of legs at the head end. When disturbed, they curl up into a letter-C shape.
Although the chafer grubs might have invaded your lawn during June, the damage doesn’t usually start to show until late summer.
“The first signs of a problem are areas of the lawn developing yellow patches,” says Paul.
“On examination, the turf is found to be loose and easily pulled up to reveal the soil beneath. The grubs will be found just below the surface.
“A serious infestation can yield up to 20 grubs in a square metre of turf.”
An extra problem is that birds, foxes and hedgehogs love to feed on the chafer grubs and will dig at the turf to get at them. This secondary damage is often worse than that caused by the grubs.
So what can you do to counter this threat to your lawn? “Without doubt, prevention, rather than cure, is the answer,” Paul says.
“If you see the beetles in your garden, there is a very good chance you’ll end up with the grubs in your lawn unless a suitable treatment is applied.
“If a professional pesticide is applied during May or June, it will eliminate the newly-born grubs before they get the chance to cause any damage.”
Guaranteed to kill off the chafer grubs is a pesticide known as imidacloprid. However, despite objections by the UK government, over-the-counter products containing this have been banned by the European Union for fear that they are contributing to the decline of honey-bee colonies.
Now, the only way lawns can be protected is through companies, such as Four Seasons Lawn Care, of Mansfield, who hold the necessary certificates of competence to apply a professional pesticide.
One application of the pesticide will inoculate your lawn against the chafer threat for 12 months. Although it still contains imidacloprid, bees are not threatened because of the way the treatment is carried out.
For a free, no-obligation quote or for more information, ring Four Seasons Lawn care on 01623 402509 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also visit the firm’s website, fourseasonslawncare.info, or you can find them on Facebook.