Flowers are blooming, look for Chafer and Chinch bugs!

Posted on Friday, June 25th, 2021

Written by GTI Admin

A photo of bird's-foot trefoil, a yellow flower, and catalpa, a white flower with reddish veins on the inner part of the petals
Bird's-foot trefoil (left) and common catalpa (right)

It’s that time of year again!

The flowers are blooming and the insects are active. According to the OMAFRA publication for pest management for turf (Publication 845), full bloom of catalpa coincides with peak adult flights of European chafer beetles and the peak egg-laying time for hairy chinch bug is when bird’s-foot trefoil is in full bloom. 


That time is now. 

European chafer

The adult European chafer beetles are not the major cause for concern. Instead, we are worried about the damage caused by their offspring. White grubs are the larvae of certain beetles, like June beetles, Japanese beetles, and the European chafer beetle. The grubs are whitish with an orange to yellow head and can devastate your lawn. The European chafer is our prime suspect when it comes to lawn damage in Ontario. Affected areas will feel soft and spongy, and the turf in these spots can be lifted like a rug. This damage is most prevalent in spring (March-April) and fall (September-November). 


What to do if you see European chafer beetles? 

You can hand pick adult beetles or vacuum them up with a handheld vacuum. For best results, collect the beetles early in the morning when they are moving slowly. Finish the job by dunking the pests in a bucket of soapy water. 


hairy chinch bug life stages

The hairy chinch bug is a sap-sucker. The immature stage (called a nymph) does the most damage in July to August, specifically around the edge of the lawn near to flowerbeds and hedges. The damaged turf will look sunken, and the plants will wilt and die quickly when the weather is hot and dry. If you look close to the base of the plants, you might see red, brown or black-and-white insects from 1–3 mm long. You can reduce the damage caused by providing the lawn with lots of irrigation. At this time, you will likely see the adults getting ready to lay their eggs.


What to do if you see hairy chinch bugs?

Prepare for watering! Regular irrigation will help prevent symptoms, especially when the temperatures are over 25°C or if there’s been a lack of rain. 


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If you'd like to read more, here are some resources on white grubs and hairy chinch bugs.

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