Chafer (Garden)

Phyllopertha horticola

Chafer grubs feed on plant roots
Chafer grubs feed on plant roots
Garden chafer beetle
Garden chafer beetle
Adult garden chafer beetles
Adult garden chafer beetles

Host Plants:

In the wild: Many plants, shrubs and trees and areas of grass/lawn
In the garden: Many plants, shrubs and trees and areas of grass/lawn

Where Found:

Throughout UK and Europe (temperate regions only)


The adult garden chafer is about 10mm in length and has a hairy body. Their wing cases are chestnut brown and they have a dark green head and thorax. As with other chafer species, their antennae have fan-like ends. Adults are found throughout June and July within gardens, woodlands and hedgerows where they feed on the leaves of many different plant, shrubs and trees. They live for up to 8 weeks. Their larval grubs are creamy white in colour with brown heads. They are C-shaped and live just below the surface feeding on roots.


Adult garden chafers do not cause any significant damage to the plants that they feed on. The larval grubs however, often cause yellow patches to appear on lawns where they are feeding on the roots. This can result in dead patches. A number of plants can also be damaged in this way. Large numbers of garden chafer grubs can occur within large lawns and amenity turf areas such as golf courses. Badgers and crows will often dig into the grass to find and eat the grubs causing serious damage.

Preventing Problems:

Pheromone traps can be used to attract and contain adult garden chafers when they emerge during June-July. This will reduce the numbers that are able to successfully mate and lay eggs.

Managing Outbreaks:

Areas of lawn where yellow patches are occurring can be lifted and inspected for chafer grubs, which can then be removed by hand. Commercially available entomopathogenic nematodes can also be used to water into the infested areas. These microscopic worms enter the grubs and cause a bacterial infection within which kills them.


Reducing the numbers of weeds within lawns and keeping lawns scarified and aerated will help to reduce garden chafer grub levels.

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