Sales of chafer grub control agent up 60%

Bayer Garden's Provado Lawn Grub Killer had a major boost in April sales compared to the same period last year, with one national DIY chain reporting a 60 per cent increase.

Bayer Garden consumer advisor Anita Dent said:  "We have been inundated with calls asking for advice about brown patches in lawns. People want to know what is causing these patches and how to fix the problem. For the majority it is the Chafer Grub doing the damage and consumers need to get ready to treat the problem in the next few weeks."

The company blamed the weather conditions in 2009 for the apparent boost in chafer numbers, as breeding success became evident with widespread autumn lawn damage.

Beetle eggs will hatch between now and mid June and the small grubs will begin feeding on the roots.

By late summer and early autumn their impact will become noticeable with discolouration of the lawn.

According to Dent: "The only solution is to tackle the grubs themselves.  We recommend applying controls to the lawn at around the egg laying stage, in May and June. This systemic lawn treatment remains in the soil at the root level where it is taken up by the grass and ingested by the young Chafer Grubs as they feed on the roots of the pre-treated lawn. 

"Our advice is that where an infestation exists controls should be applied to the entire lawn annually as part of the general lawn maintenance programme, as gardeners cannot be certain they have controlled all the grubs in a single application. 

"With the area treated, gardeners can then spend time repairing the damaged lawn with new turf or seed. 

"Before applying Provado Lawn Grub Killer gardeners' first need to confirm that the Chafer Grub really is the source of the problem as there can be several reasons why lawns develop patches.

Sports Turf Research Institute head of turf grass protection Dr Ruth Mann said she had been following the problem for years, but that the removal of key controls in the 1990s could be starting to have an affect now.

She said:  "It definitely could be a growing problem.  Without adequate control then it probably will get worse. The main places I see it are Bristol and the south west, East Anglia and up around Yorkshire, they are the sort of places I see it year in, year out.  But the big thing is the loss of insecticides, probably a lot of places didn't realise they had chafers before that."

Cambridge University has had extensive problems with cockchafers in recent months, with some colleges completely relaying ornamental lawns.


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