Rose chafer control in gardens and landscapes |

Rose chafer control in gardens and landscapes

David Lott
Horticulture Extension Educator
North Platte, Neb.

Rose chafer, a damaging pest to flowers, fruit, vegetable plants, trees and shrubs are actively feeding in the garden and landscapes in the area. Here is some basic information about this pest, and how to try to control them from causing further damage.

Adult rose chafer measure between 5/16 to 1/2 inch in length. Their slender bodies can range from pale green to shades of light tan and gray. Their legs are distinguishable ranging from reddish-brown to orange in color, with noticeable spines. The antennae are short with page-like segments.

This pest produces one generation each year. Adults emerge in late spring after the grub-like larvae have completed metamorphosis. Adults will lay eggs before they die to repeat the life cycle of this pest.

Rose chafers feed on flowering blooms, causing large holes in the petals. They can also feed on grape, raspberry, and strawberry fruit. locally reported cases also note damage to tomatoes in the garden as well. They are also known to defoliate many trees and shrubs as well. Tissue between the leaf veins will be chewed up, leaving the veins behind. This kind of feeding damaging is called skeletonizing.

How are these pests managed? When small numbers are present, they can be hand picked and placed in a bucket of soapy water to kill them. Barriers around specific plants made out of cheesecloth can be erected to reduce damage.

Garden insecticides can be applied when large numbers of rose chafers are present, and manually picking individual chafers or erecting barriers is not feasible. Contact insecticides labeled for rose chafer control containing bifenthrin, permethrin, esfenvalerate, and carbaryl on the product ingredient label can be used.

Please read all product use restrictions before using on vegetable and fruit crop plants. Not all of these products are labeled to use on edible food crops. If a product is used that is safe for food crops, follow the harvest waiting period after application guidelines before harvesting and eating the produce.

Systemic insect control products labeled for rose chafers, containing imidacloprid, can also be applied to ornamental flowers, trees and shrubs. When applied to specific plant material, the root systems will absorb this product, and carry nutrients to the foliage to kill the feeding rose chafers.

If you have any questions about rose chafer control, please contact me at, by calling (308) 532-2683, or by contacting your local University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Office.

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