Chafer subsidies return to New Westminster

The City of New Westminster expects 125 to 250 households to benefit from a program targeting a pest that’s wreaking havoc on some local lawns.

In an effort to fight the local European chafer problem, the city is once again offering a subsidy program so residents can purchased a biological agent called nematodes (microscopic worms) that attack the chafer grubs. Raccoons, birds and other critters dig up lawns to eat the grubs.

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The city offers a 50 per cent discount toward the purchase of up to two packages per New Westminster homeowner on a first-come, first served basis. This year, the city will be making 250 nematode packages available in the subsidy program, with each covering about 750 square feet. 

A staff report states that the parks department has an annual budget of $10,000 for the subsidy program, but because of anticipated future rising costs of nematodes there may be fewer packages available to homeowners. In an effort to have a “meaningful impact on this invasive insect” staff expect to seek additional funding for the European chafer management program in future years to keep up with inflation and to increase the effectiveness of the program.

Starting March 9, residents can pre-order their subsidized or full-price nematode packages through Garden Works at Mandeville and Garden Works at Lougheed Burnaby, with payment being required and the time of purchase and proof of New Westminster residency required.

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