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The canton of Zurich covers football pitches due to Japanese beetles

Updated at 04 Apr 2024 9:40 am

The voracious Japanese beetles that first appeared in Kloten ZH last summer are likely to have survived the winter: The canton of Zurich assumes that larvae are mainly found in the soil of the football pitches. The grass pitches in Kloten are now being covered.

From the beginning of May until the end of the flying season, the grass pitches at the Stighag sports facility in Kloten will therefore be covered with plastic sheeting, as the canton of Zurich announced on Thursday. This film is intended to prevent any Japanese beetles from flying out.

In addition, monitoring traps will be set up in Kloten and the surrounding municipalities. If Japanese beetles are found in these traps from the start of the flying season in early summer, the canton of Zurich will impose a ban on watering lawns and green spaces, as it did last year.

An "attraction surface" for females

In this case, the canton will set up an "attraction area" for female beetles. These prefer to lay their eggs in damp meadows or lawns. An irrigated "attraction area" creates a favorable place for laying eggs, whereas this is no longer attractive on unirrigated areas, writes the canton.

In the fall, the "attractant area" would then be treated several times with nematodes to kill all the Japanese beetle larvae. Whether insecticide will also be sprayed directly onto the host plants this year remains to be seen. These measures were defined by the federal government. However, the canton of Zurich is responsible for implementing them.

First population north of the Alps

The goal set by the federal government is still to eradicate the infestation in Kloten while it is still manageable. The invasive beetles can cause major damage to over 400 host plants. These include berries, fruit trees, vines and maize, as well as roses and trees such as maples, birches and lime trees.

The first Japanese beetles were discovered in Kloten in July 2023. At the time, it was the first population of the pest north of the Alps. Last year's eradication measures cost a total of 700,000 francs. The canton of Zurich was reimbursed CHF 525,000 of this by the federal government. The cost of the Japanese beetle this year remains to be seen.

©Keystone/SDA

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