African Fruit Beetle

Pachnoda sinuata

African Fruit Beetle, Brown-And-Yellow Fruit Chafer, Garden Fruit Chafer

Pachnoda sinuata Engerling by Drägüs (CC BY-SA 3.0)
1 of 8
A close up Pachnoda sinuata Garden Fruit Chafer larva
Pachnoda sinuata Engerling by Drägüs (CC BY-SA 3.0)
1 of 8
Pachnoda sinuata is a medium-sized, yellow-and-brown fruit beetle. They're widespread across southern Africa and frequent in gardens. Garden Fruit Chafers can aggregate in the branches of fruit trees or on large flower heads, where they graze the fruits and chew on flower petals. The grubs can sometimes be found in compost heaps and flower beds, wherever organic matter is abundant. If in the right place, grubs can be beneficial by churning the soil, breaking down larger pieces of plant debris. Scarab grubs can sometimes be pests of lawns and container plants, where they attack the plant roots.
Free download for your phone or tablet
Download on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

Traits

Pests of fruit and flowers.
The larvae are food for various wildlife and contribute to natural soil formation.

Appearance

Adults: Mature beetles are distinctive brown-and-yellow (length: 2.5cm). The middle/ dorsal area of the body is black-brown, the margins yellow, the head red-brown. Larvae: The grubs are large (2.5cm), cream, and curved like a 'C'. They possess 3 pairs of legs just below the head. Pupae: Pupa is golden brown, highly segmented with a shine. It's protected by a clay shell. Eggs: The eggs are small, white and spherical; laid in the soil.

Symptoms

They chew holes in fleshy leaves creating irregular sized holes. May tear the petals of ornamental plants. Bruising and decay of fruit. Brown patches in lawns. Birds pecking at lawns for grubs.

Activity

Diurnal

Personality

Order

Coleoptera

Family

Scarabaeidae

Metamorphosis

Complete

Distribution

South Africa, Congo, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia and Ethiopia

Biological treatment

Scarab beetles can provide an array of benefits to the wider ecosystem and should be tolerated in low numbers. Healthy, well-established trees can survive moderate to high infestations. They also have an array of natural enemies to help keep their numbers at bay. Proper lawn maintenance may be beneficial at keeping grub numbers low. General feeding, regular watering, aerating and scarifying are all good maintenance practices. Container plants should be checked regularly. Investigate any sudden wilting or losses in vigour. Removal of leaf litter and plant debris around your most prized plants can make spaces less attractive to beetles looking to hide. Chafer grubs thrive in dry soil, so regularly watering your lawn to keep the soil moist will help to deter them and will aid the grass recovery. Following the end of the warm season (end of the summer to autumn), you should scarify and aerate flower beds and turf. This should reveal any overwintering larvae in the soil. They can then be collected and placed somewhere for the birds or relocated elsewhere. It's thought that compressing the lawn in spring can make it difficult for females to lay eggs in the soil come summer. Placing a mesh-type netting around trees and shrubs may help to prevent damage by adult beetles. If available, beneficial nematodes can be diluted in water and sprinkled on lawns. The Hadeda-ibis is known to be a predator of these beetles. Also, if you have chickens in your garden, they can help to control the larval stage of these beetles.

Chemical treatment

No specific chemical control for this beetle.

Attracts

The mature adults feed on fruit (especially grapes) and flowers (especially roses, proteas, carnations and dahlias). The grubs feed on organic matter in the soil- this includes all plant matter, meaning that they will sometimes attack the roots of grasses and other garden plants.
Free download for your phone or tablet
Download on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

Plant Knowledge

Search our ever-growing knowledge base to find plants and information. Find out about pests and diseases you should be keeping an eye out for. Watch How to videos or follow step by step guides for tasks in the garden. Free download for your phone or tablet.
Download on the App StoreGet it on Google Play