Chafer beetle won't meet death by pesticides in Port Moody
They're a tiny little bug that has caused a lot of damage but Port Moody isn't willing to budge on its pesticide ban to curb the spread of the chafer beetle.
At Tuesday's council meeting, Mayor Mike Clay, who said his own lawn has been torn up by the voracious critters — and the raccoons and crows that like to feed on them — provided a report with a recommendation that staff report back with options for minimizing the chafer beetle infestation, including pesticide bylaw exemptions.
"It concerned me that the pesticide bylaw prevents the use of two pesticides that have been shown to actually work," Clay said, noting it is important to deal with the matter quickly, before the beetle gestation period begins in April.
Clay's report notes that a large number of private and public grassed areas have been ripped up by the chafer beetle, most of which now require a complete sod removal, beetle treatment and replanting or sodding.
"The damage in landscape value in the city has been estimated to be several hundred thousand dollars," it adds.
But several councillors weren't keen on the idea of going back on the pesticide ban.
"This is a huge step backwards," said Coun. Meghan Lahti. "We're not being very progressive if the first step we go to is pesticides."
Coun. Zoe Royer called the chafer beetle an "epidemic in our community" and suggested there should be more information about the option of using nematodes as a natural remedy.
Council passed a motion to have staff prepare information on natural alternatives to combat the chafer beetle, and to develop a public education program to help residents deal with the pest without pesticides.
Coun. Diana Dilworth voted against the motion, saying she would have liked to at least see an analysis of the pesticides and how effective they are in comparison with nematodes.