The garden chafer (Phyllopertha horticola) is a real pest.
For many years they have completely ruined our lawn in the autumn when the larvae hatch and eat the grass roots.
The years when I was on maternity leave, I used to collect them in a jar. Later on I paid the kids in ice cream for doing the same. The chafers were then fed to the fish I our stream.
But the recent years there have been so many that we completely gave up. even The many birds in our garden couldn’t keep up. Result: the lawn looked like wasteland in September every year. It cost a lot of money and effort each year to sow new grass and maintain it.
Last June my husband decided to use nematodes to kill the larvaes. one of our neighbours had used them for done years with great success. Nematodes are very small worms that live naturally everywhere in the soil and live from insect larvaes.
However, here in the heart of Mid Jutland it’s very sandy giving optimal conditions for the garden chafers but not for the nematodes.
Luckily you can buy nematodes. They come in a small clay-like substance, which you dilute in water. Then you can water or spray the lawn, the nematodes dig themselves into the ground a go hunting for larvaes.
So last August we did all this and our lawn looks absolutely amazing this year. No bald patches, no yellow spots where the grass hasn’t regrown yet.
The last few days the garden chafers have begun swarming, but not as many as normally.
I consider using nematodes a natural way of getting rid of garden chafers, mosquitoes and daddy longlegs. I haven’t been able to find any literature that nematodes are dangerous in any way or disturb the natural balance in the soil.
However, nematodes are parasites and I’m really uncertain if they can infect humans. So we don’t go barefoot on the lawn a few days after it’s been sprayed.
If you have any experience with nematodes or other natural pest controls, I’d like to hear from you.