Rose chafer, Macrodactylus subspinosus (Fabricius)

This general feeder is related to the Japanese beetle and the life cycle is similar. Rose chafer was first reported as a grape pest as early as 1810, later extending its host range to include a wide assortment of host plants. Grape remains among the most severely injured crops. Larvae overwinter in soil, resuming development in the spring. Adults emerge in late May or early June, near the time of grape bloom. These are tan, long-legged beetles about 12 mm long. Mating and egg laying occur continuously for about two weeks with each female depositing 24 to 36 eggs. The average life span of the adult is about three weeks, when they feed on blossoms, newly set fruit and leaves. In about two weeks, eggs hatch and larvae begin feeding on grass roots. This pest is more common in areas with light sandy soils. There is one generation per year.

Control is seldom needed for this pest, but vigilance should be maintained early in the season in case of high numbers. In severe cases, blossom buds are often completely destroyed, resulting in little or no grape production. Population levels vary from year to year. Petal-fall sprays for grape berry moth will also control rose chafers.

This is taken primarily from an extension bulletin by D. G. Pfeiffer & P. B. Schultz, entitled "Major Insect and Mite Pests of Grape in Virginia" (Va. Coop. Ext. Serv. 444-567 (1986))

See NCSU factsheet, and photo by Jeff Hahn.

Back to Virginia Vineyard page
Back to Virginia Fruit Page