Brown Flower Chafers

Schizonycha spp.

Brown Flower Chafers

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Brown Flower Chafers make up a genus of Scarab beetles. They're closely related to June Beetles and are known pests of a selection of garden plants. These beetles are nocturnal, and the adults will feed on flowers and foliage of plants during night-time. The larvae which appear like typical chafer grubs are soil-dwellers who feed directly from the roots of the host plant.
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Traits

May attack flowers and foliage.
Food for a variety of garden wildlife.

Appearance

Adults: Small to medium-sized beetles (roughly 2cm). They are typically brown to red (or somewhere in between). The abdomen is usually bulbous and the elytra substantially soft. The elytra (wing casings) are covered in tiny indented white-silver dots. The antennae of the males are fanned or branched. These are the apparatus used to seek out females ready to mate. Grub larvae are 'C' shaped, with orange-brown heads, with legs directly beneath the head.

Symptoms

Brown/dead patches of grass may be evident. You may find numerous C shaped grubs when digging up the lawn or lifting turf. Birds may be highly attracted to the lawn and peck at it. Irregular shaped holes might be noticed on the leaves and flowers of ornamental plants. Medium-sized, red-brown beetles in the flowers and on the leaves of plants at night-time.

Activity

Nocturnal

Personality

Order

Coleoptera

Family

Scarabaeidae

Metamorphosis

Complete

Distribution

South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe

Biological treatment

If you notice any of the symptoms listed, it would be worthwhile to do a few night-time torch checks to see if you can observe your culprit in action. Once you can identify your insect, it will be much easier to choose your plan of action. 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.

Attracts

The adult females are attracted to soils with high organic content.
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Plant Knowledge

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