07/17/2015 04:33 EDT | Updated 07/17/2016 05:59 EDT

Chafer beetle growth conditions ideal in dry weather

Weeks of hot, dry weather are making life much easier for the dreaded chafer beetle, according the Vancouver Park Board.

Gardeners tend to launch their chafer beetle counterattack in mid-July, spraying lawns with tiny worms called nematodes which eat the beetles before they're fully grown.

But the one-two punch of parched earth and water restrictions makes the nematodes' job difficult.

"In order to have the nematodes be effective, the ground needs to be moist so that the nematodes can survive. The nematodes actually have to be watered in as well," said Brian Quinn, director of operations with the Parks Board.

The result is lawns torn up by birds and other animals searching for chafer beetles to eat in the colder months.

If you think the beetles might be growing in your lawn, Quinn says the best thing to do is avoid cutting it, since chafer beetles dislike long grass.

Water exemption for nematodes

You can also apply to Metro Vancouver for an exemption from the water restrictions if you have a receipt for the purchase of nematodes.

The Metro Vancouver website recommends keeping lawns "as moist as a wrung-out sponge." 

The exemption allows homeowners to water their grass between 4 a.m. and 9 a.m.. over a two week period between July 1 and August 15.

The European chafer beetle first appeared in lawns in New Westminster in 2001 and have spread steadily across the Lower Mainland since then.