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Masked Chafer Beetle: More than Meets the Eye

Published In: Occasional Invaders

Masked Chafer Beetles are small, dull yellow/brown scarab beetles. The adult beetles can be a nuisance pest, as they are highly attracted to lights and will fly en masse around the windows of your home. While the presence of the adult beetles can be rather annoying, the bigger threat is what’s likely happening right below the surface of your beautiful bermuda grass.

Although the adults are more visible, their large, worm-like larva (called grubs) live under the soil of your grass. These grubs are typically white in color and are usually curled in a “C” shape. They hang out there until they’ve fully developed into adults.

What’s the big deal with Grubs?

Unfortunately, grubs do A LOT more damage than adults do. In fact, an infestation of grubs can leave you with scorch marks in lawns, causing certain patches of grass to come up easily and they can kill your garden plants. To add insult to injury, animals like racoons will dig up the ground in search of these grubs, leaving behind unsightly lawn or garden damage.

How do they do so much damage?

Once mated, the females will burrow into the ground to lay their eggs. These larvae (grubs) will travel to the top of the soil line to feed on plant roots and other organic material. So while you’re trying to get the adult masked chaffers off of your windows, the grubs are destroying your grass at the root.

How do we fight them?

Because the adults are attracted to lights before they lay their eggs, a great way to deter beetles from your property is to make sure all outdoor lights are off, and window blinds or curtains are close. Sodium vapor lights are also a good measure of deterrence, as insects are not as attracted to the wavelengths that sodium vapor lights emit.

Another method of control is moisture control. The developing grubs lack the hard, waxy shell that most adult insects have, meaning they are very prone to drying out. Restricting your sprinkler or watering schedule can help reduce the number of larva that can develop around your property.

If you believe you already have a Masked Chafer Beetle infestation, give us a call to discuss available treatment options.

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