Date: Monday Jan. 3, 2011 5:04 PM PT
An invasion is underway in Vancouver's wealthiest neighbourhood, where the tiny European chafer beetle is causing thousands of dollars in lawn damage.
The disaster is unfolding on the manicured lawns of Shaughnessy, where skunks, raccoons and crows are ripping up the grass to get to the beetle larvae buried below.
"We're talking multi-million-dollar properties where people spend thousands of dollars a year on their landscaping, and some of them with rather large lawns. It's not a problem that's going to go away in the foreseeable future," Paul Corbett of Cutting Edge Lawn Care told CTV News.
The beetle infestation has been a problem in New Westminster and Burnaby since 2001. It's believed an infected shipment of soil arrived from Ontario, and Corbett says the beetle is now migrating west toward the University of B.C.
"The beetles, when they hatch, fly towards the setting sun. They always hatch at night or in the evening, and they always just tend to fly toward the sunset," he said.
Homeowners like Annie Jangze are trying to stop hungry animals from pawing at their lawns by laying down chicken wire.
"I tried to scare a raccoon off, and I brought a hockey stick and I said, ‘Hey you,' and he just looked at me," she said.
"I want to enjoy my green."
Some residents on Wiltshire Street are removing their lawns altogether.
Corbett says the cold weather won't kill the beetles, and there is nothing that homeowners can do until the summer, when the insects lay their eggs.
There are only two treatment options: microscopic worms called nematodes that attack the eggs, or Merit, an insecticide that is only allowed in certain municipalities.
Corbett suggests that neighbours get together and agree on a treatment plan so that the beetles can be eradicated.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Lisa Rossington