01/07/2015 03:58 EST | Updated 03/09/2015 05:59 EDT

Chafer beetles cause hungry predators to dig up Port Coquitlam, B.C. cemetery

Skunks, raccoons and birds looking to dine on chafer beetles are causing more damage than ever across Metro Vancouver.

In the Port Coquitlam Cemetery, on Oxford St., large portions of the grass have been dug up by pests hunting for the tiny beetles which burrow into the ground, particularly in the colder months. 

The City's parks coordinator Bill Herbst says this has been a particularly bad year. 

"Once animals go up there and know there's a free lunch going on, they come back every night. And the raccoons will peel back the turf like a roll and the crows will come and pick away and before long there's nothing left but soil," said Herbst. 

Herbst said the problem is spreading across the Tri-Cities area. 

"It's been kind of growing, probably the last five or six years when I first noticed it in a few small areas in the downtown area of Port Coquitlam. It's kind of expanded out since then," said Herbst. 

 Nikolas Wall, of Premier Pacific Seeds, agrees it's a growing problem. 

 "I have noticed there seems to have been more damage especially in the fall," said Wall. 

Wall's Surrey company sells a type of micro-clover turf designed to repel chafer beetles, but one of the best defences against the insect is to properly maintain lawn.

That includes aerating, fertilizing, deep watering and mowing - but even that, however, is no guarantee.