The European chafer is a small golden tan to light brown June beetle.
It is oval in shape, and about 1/2 inch long. The larva or grub is found
in the soil. It is "C"-shaped, about 3/4 inch long, grayish white with
a brown head with a strong set of jaws and 6 strong legs. The grubs may
be recognized from other white grubs by the "Y"-shaped anal slit and the
parallel rows of spines on the raster.
The grub stage of this beetle is very destructive to turf.
The grubs feed on the roots of grasses during the summer and
again in the spring, chewing them off and killing the grass
plants. Dead and dying spots in lawns where chafer flights
have been observed the previous June should be suspect.
Injury is usually visible by last summer.
During the months of June and July, adult beetles emerge from the
ground at about 8:30-8:45 p.m. EDT and take off in mating flights.
The mating flights consist of many individuals and have been
described "to sound and look like a swarm of bees." The flights occur
at sunset - enormous numbers of beetles swarm about a tree or tall
shrub, or even sometimes a chimney, for about 30 minutes and the
settle down on the foliage where mating occurs. The adult beetles do
not feed and they do not bite or sting. They may, however, tear plant
foliage as they attempt to hold on with their spiny legs.
The following day females will burrow into the soil a few inches
and deposit eggs in earthen cells. Generally they lay 20-30 eggs,
depositing them singly in cells. In two to three weeks, the eggs
hatch and the tiny grubs begin feeding. By fall the grubs are in the
3rd instar. The following spring, as soils begin to warm, the grubs
again come toward the surface and feed. The pupal stage occurs during
last May and early June. During this stage the insects do not feed.
Most European chafers have a 1 year life cycle, but some may take 2
years to complete development. Back to Pest Information
European earwigs generally feed as scavengers on dead
insects and rotting plant material. A few cases of earwigs
feeding on aphids have been reported, and they will also
attack flower blossoms, lettuce and other succulent garden
In addition to their feeding activities, earwigs often
occur in close proximity to people, even getting into houses
and garages, especially during periods of very wet weather.
In the home they are attracted to paper and fiber products
stored in moist situations and thus may be found in
basements, kitchens, and occasionally in bathrooms.
The European earwig was known only from a few localities
east of the Mississippi River in 1940. These sites were in
the coastal areas of Massachusetts and Rhode Island and in
upstate New York near the Great Lakes - a total of 12
observations. By 1970 only a few scattered counties in New
York had not been reported as having serious infestations.
The insect is also reported in neighboring counties of
Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and
Vermont. Reports of annoyance and damage increase each year.
The European earwig has been known widely on the West Coast
since the early 1900's and has moved eastward to the Plains
The adult is about 19mm (3/4") long, a somewhat flattened elongate
insect, dark red-brown in color with short wing covers. It seldom
flies. The young are similar to the adults, gray-brown in color, and
lacking wings. The most distinctive feature of earwigs is the pair of
forceps on the tip of the abdomen. On the male the forceps are
strongly curved, in the female they are nearly straight.
The female earwig deposits up to 300 white, nearly spherical eggs in
a cell in the soil at a depth to 15mm. Depending on temperature,
incubation lasts from 12 to 85 days, eggs laid early in the spring
requiring the longest to hatch. The female guards the eggs and newly
hatched young, but abandons the brood after the first molt. Nearly a
year is required for development, and there is one generation per
year. Both eggs and young require moisture although heavy rains are
not tolerated. The adults can survive extended periods of
dryness. Back to Pest Information