Scientific name: Amphimallon majale
What Is It?
The European chafer is a beetle that feeds on grass roots while in its larval (grub) phase, killing the grass and leaving visible dead patches. grubs feed on grass in fall and spring. Most of the damage is caused in spring just before pupation, the transition from grub to adult. In summer the adult beetles swarm at sunset to reproduce before laying their eggs and starting the cycle over again. The adult beetles do not eat, bite, or sting; it is primarily the grubs that are harmful.
Is It Here Yet?
Yes. In 2015, the European chafer was found in SeaTac.
Why Should I Care?
The European chafer can destroy turf, and could cause extensive damage to homeowners’ lawns if they become established in Washington. They also may feed on the roots of crops, which could be costly to the agriculture industry.
How Can We Stop It?
Irrigated lawns have shown resistance to damage in the Midwest and on the East Coast. Contact your local master gardener or Washington State University Extension office for recommendations.
What Are Its Characteristics?
- Adults are about ½ inch long, brick red in color.
- Larvae ¼ to 1 inch long, dark brown head, C-shaped body with noticeable legs.