Phyllopertha horticola L Garden chafer

Infestations of this often abundant chafer are most frequent in grassland, including golf courses and other amenity areas. The larvae destroy the root system of the turf, and this results in the appearance of large, dead patches. The loosened turf is often removed by birds, such as rooks, that commonly search infested areas for the grubs. Fine-leaved grasses are most susceptible to chafer attack; broader-leaved species, including cocksfoot and rye-grass, are more tolerant. Damage is especially severe on lighter soils and is also of particular significance on wet, upland pastures. Although primarily pests of grass, the larvae will also damage crops planted in recently ploughed-up grassland. The adult chafers sometimes browse on the leaves and developing apple and pear fruitlets, and may also cause minor damage to various other plants.


Adults are active mainly in May and June, and often swarm in sunny weather. They feed on the flowers, fruits and leaves of various herbaceous and other plants. Eggs are laid in the soil, usually deposited singly but close together, each in a small earthen chamber. Larvae feed from June or July onwards. They attack plant roots and typically rest with the head adpressed to the anal segment (Plate 3d). Individuals are fully grown by the autumn but they do not pupate until the following spring.


Adult 7-11 mm long, distinctly hairy; head and thorax metallic bluish-green; elytra reddish-brown; legs black. Larva up to 15 mm long; body mainly white; head pale yellowish-brown; anal segment translucent, the anal slit transverse and surmounted by two parallel rows of spines (Fig. 203d).

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