European Chafer

European Chafer Control

Rhizotrogus majalis

European Chafer larvae (grubs) feed on all types of grass. However, if the population is large and food is scarce, they may move into vegetable planting to feed on corn, potatoes and other crops.

The larvae have C-shaped bodies, brown heads, and are so small that a microscope is required to identify them with certainty. The larvae molt twice over 8 weeks. Mature grubs are well adapted to cool, moist conditions and feed throughout the fall season. During the winter they typically remain within 5 cm of the soil surface, but will burrow farther into the soil during freezing conditions.

Considerable damage to turf can occur in the fall and winter from animals, especially skunks and birds that dig up the grass to reach the larvae. They emerge in the spring and feed until April, and then they become pupae. Adults emerge in late May and fly to nearby deciduous trees to mate and feed. European chafer adults are tan colored beetles that resemble small June bugs. The females lay eggs that hatch around mid-July. The females can deposit up to 50 eggs each.

The control options are listed below. For more information about controlling these pests, please see our Pest Beetle Control page.

Photo Courtesy of: Integrated Pest Management Centers, sponsored by the United States Department of Agriculture.

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