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Home > Bugs > Bugs of Flowers > Rose Chafer

Rose Chafer—Macrodactylus subspinosus

Adult rose chafers feed primarily on flower blossoms, especially roses and peonies, causing large, irregular holes. They damage fruits, particularly grape, raspberry, and strawberry. They also feed on the foliage of many trees, shrubs and other plants, such as rose, grape, apple, cherry, and birch, typically damaging leaves by eating the leaf tissue between the large veins, a type of injury known as skeletonizing. Rose chafers are generally found in areas with sandy soil. They contain a toxin that can be deadly to birds, including chickens, and small animals. The larvae feed on the roots of grasses and non-crop plants; they do not cause damage to home lawns or landscape plants.

see also White Grubs


rose chafer larvae rose chafer adult beetle rose chafer beetles on skeletonized leaf
Rose chafer larvae have a brown head and conspicuous legs. Fully grown, a rose chafer larvae is about 3/4-inch long. Rose chafers are scarab beetles approximately 3/8 inch long, slender, and light tan in color. Adults feed on rose flowers and on foliage, skeletonizing leaves.
typical flower blossom damage by rose chafer    
Typical damage to flower blossoms.    

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Identification and Control Information (each will open in a new window)
  • Fact Sheet: Rose Chafer [PDF]—North Carolina State University
  • UNH Cooperative Extension Info Line Question of the Week: Rose Chafer [PDF]
  • Rose Chafers [PDF]—University of Minnesota Extension
  • Deciduous Tree and Shrub Disorder: Skeletonizing by Rose Chafer [PDF]—University of Wisconsin Extension
  • Beetles on Ornamental Plants [PDF]—University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension




[Photos, left to right: (rose chafer larvae) unknown; (rose chafer adult) Clemson University - USDA Cooperative Extension Slide Series,; (rose chafer adults on leaf) University of Wisconsin Entomology; (blossom damage) Jeff Hahn, University of Minnesota Extension]

It is the policy of the State of Maine to minimize reliance on pesticides. The Maine Department of Agriculture and the Maine IPM Council encourage everyone to practice integrated pest management and to use pesticides only as a last resort. The mention of pesticides in the fact sheets linked to these pages does not imply an endorsement of any product. Be sure that any product used is currently registered and follow all label directions.