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Another invasive insect confirmed in Minnesota

August 10, 2020

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) has confirmed that European chafer (Amphimallon majale) has been found for the first time in the state. This invasive insect is a severe pest of turfgrass. First found in the U.S. in New York in 1940, European chafer is now found in 10 states including parts of Wisconsin and Michigan. The first European chafers in Minnesota were found in south Minneapolis earlier this summer.

Light brown, hard-shelled adult beetle.
  • European chafer is about ½ inch long and is tannish to reddish brown.
  • It resembles a May/June beetle, although May/June beetles are usually a little larger and darker in color.
  • Adult European chafers typically emerge from the soil in early summer at dusk on warm, clear nights.
  • They swarm around small trees and shrubs to mate for several hours before returning to the ground. It is easy to miss their activity.

While the adults are not pests, the larvae (grubs) are considered more destructive to turf than Japanese beetles because they feed longer during the year.

  • The grubs have a reddish yellow head with conspicuous legs and a body bent into a C-shape.
  • They range in size from ¼ inch to almost one inch.
  • They look very similar to Japanese beetle and May/June beetle white grubs and can only be distinguished by close examination of the tip of their abdomen.
Grub with a white body and yellow head curled into a C-shape on a bed of soil.

The MDA wants to better understand where European chafers are in Minnesota. Minnesotans can report suspected European chafers to the MDA’s Arrest the Pest line at arrest.the.pest@state.mn.us or 1-888-545-6684.

Before making a report, capture the insect, take a picture, and put the insect in a container or plastic bag and save it in the freezer. The MDA will contact you if they need the specimen for confirmation.

For more information, see MDA’s European chafer page.

Jeffrey Hahn, Extension entomologist

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