The European Chafer Beetle is an invasive insect pest. Its larvae feed on the roots of grasses, causing serious damage to lawns.
Adult Chafer Beetles are tan or brown, measuring approximately 1.5 centimetres (0.5 inches) long. The larvae (or grubs) have brown heads and white, C-shaped bodies, and they’re smaller than a dime.
Check out the Chafer Beetle Brochure (PDF) for more information.
Chafer Beetle infestation is often most visible when raccoons, birds and other wildlife, eager to eat the grubs, begin digging up grasses and damaging turf.
Between January and March you can monitor your grass for grubs by cutting back a section of the turf and digging around in the dirt. If there are more than five grubs per section, you may want to consider Chafer Beetle control.
To find out if Chafer control is needed:
Apply nematodes (Heterorhabditis bacteriophora is recommended) in late July. Contact your local garden centre to pre-order nematodes ahead of time.
The best line of defense is proper lawn maintenance year round!:
A European Chafer completes its life cycle in one year.
Adult beetles emerge from the soil and fly to nearby deciduous (broad-leaved) trees to mate and feed. Once mated, females deposit eggs (up to 50 eggs per female) in the soil. During this time, beetles cause minimal damage to turf.
Eggs hatch in July, and the larvae (grubs) begin to feed on turf grass roots. Infected turf may feel "spongy" when stepped on due to the grubs tunneling underneath. During this time, damages to turf can be seen by brown, dying patches of grass.
The grubs grow as they continue to feed in fall and winter. They remain within 5 centimetres of the ground surface unless in freezing conditions when they burrow deeper into the soil. During this time, damage to turf is most serious. Birds, skunks, and other predators dig up grasses to feed on the mature grubs. The grubs continue to feed until they pupate (undergo metamorphosis) to become adult beetles in May.