Embracing the Elegance of Flower Chafer: A Beetle Enthusiast’s Guide

Flower chafers, also known as rose chafers, are a type of beetle known for their affinity to feast on flower blossoms, particularly roses and peonies. They can be found throughout various regions, such as Minnesota, and are more prevalent in areas with sandy soil. Adult rose chafers can cause significant damage to flowers, creating large, irregular holes, and are also known to damage fruits like grape, raspberry, and strawberry source.

These beetles exhibit some interesting characteristics that set them apart from other pests. For instance, they have a relatively minor overall impact on the environment compared to other beetles. The adult rose chafers are generally tan-colored, slender, and have long, spiny, reddish-brown legs, with females being slightly more robust than males source. This distinction allows for easy identification and monitoring in your garden.

In order to manage flower chafers, it’s important to follow some key strategies. Frequent irrigation during specific seasons may deter adult females from laying eggs, and such preventive measures can contribute significantly to the control of their population source. Staying informed about these pests can help you take swift action and prevent severe damage to your cherished plants.

Flower Chafer Basics

General Characteristics

  • Flower chafers are a group of colorful and diverse beetles found in the family Scarabaeidae.
  • These beetles are known for their metallic colors and striking patterns.
  • They are attracted to flowers where they feed on nectar and pollen.

Genera and Distribution

  • Over 4,000 species of flower chafers fall under multiple genera.
  • Key genera include Cetonia, Protaetia, and Chlorocala.
  • They can be found in various habitats worldwide, from tropical forests to grasslands.

Comparison of Flower Chafers and Rose Chafers

Aspect Flower Chafers Rose Chafers
Family Scarabaeidae Scarabaeidae
Habitat Tropical forests, grasslands Areas with sandy soil
Feeding Habits Nectar and pollen from flowers Flower blossoms, fruits, grass roots
Damage to Plants Minimal impact due to feeding patterns Holes in flower blossoms, fruit damage

Physical Features and Habits


The Flower Chafer, also known as Rose Chafer, is a beetle with a light tan body and a darker brown head. Its color ranges from pale green to tan, with reddish-brown to orange-tinged spiny legs1.

Size and Antennae

These beetles are medium-sized, measuring between five-sixteenths to 0.5 inches in length1. Their antennae consist of several segments, which play a vital role in detecting food sources and mates.

Active Time

Flower Chafers are most active during late May or June2. They emerge from the ground near the bloom time of their preferred food sources, such as roses or peonies, and live for around 3 to 4 weeks2.

Feeding Habits

Adult Flower Chafers feed on flowers and fruits, causing large, irregular holes1. Common food sources for these insects include:

  • Roses
  • Peonies
  • Grapes
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries1

Their larvae, on the other hand, live in the soil and feed on the roots of grass and weeds1.

Pros of Flower Chafers:

  • Help in decomposition and recycling of organic matter in the ecosystem

Cons of Flower Chafers:

  • Cause damage to flowers and fruits1
  • Affect the growth of plants, especially those with damaged roots due to their larvae1

Comparison between Flower Chafers and Ladybugs:

Feature Flower Chafer Ladybug
Size 5/16 to 0.5 inches long1 0.3 to 0.4 inches long
Color Pale green to tan1 Red or orange with spots
Active Time Late May or June2 Spring to early Fall
Feeding Habits Flowers and fruits1 Aphids and other insects

Life Cycle and Reproduction

Eggs and Larvae

The life cycle of a Flower Chafer begins with the female laying eggs. These eggs are typically laid just below the surface of the soil. After a short period, larvae emerge from the eggs. Some features of flower chafer larvae include:

  • C-shaped grubs
  • Living in the soil

Pupae and Adults

As the larvae grow, they enter the pupae stage, where they transform into adult Flower Chafers. Here is a comparison table for adult Flower Chafers:

Feature Description
Color Light tan
Size About 12 mm long
Head Darker brown
Legs Long
Lifespan 3-4 weeks

Adult Flower Chafers emerge from the ground during late May or June. The adults play a crucial role in the continuation of the species as they mate and produce the next generation of Flower Chafers.

The life cycle can be summarized in the following steps:

  1. Eggs are laid just below the soil surface.
  2. Larvae emerge and live in the soil.
  3. Larvae transform into pupae.
  4. Adult Flower Chafers emerge and mate.

Flower Chafer reproduction is essential for the thriving of the species, and their unique life cycle allows them to adapt to their environment and continue to persist.

Flower Chafers’ Role in the Ecosystem

Interactions with Birds and Small Animals

  • Flower chafers, being insects, play a crucial role in the ecosystem.
  • They serve as a food source for various birds and small animals.

These insects provide essential nutrients like proteins and fats, helping birds and small animals maintain a balanced diet. Some examples of predators that feed on flower chafers include:

  • Robins
  • Blue jays
  • Ground-foraging mammals, such as shrews and moles

Influence on Plants and Gardens

Despite their significance in the ecosystem, flower chafers often cause damage to plants and gardens.

  • They feed on flower blossoms, creating large, irregular holes1.
  • Some species, like the rose chafer, also damage fruits such as grape, raspberry, and strawberry1.

However, flower chafers are not all bad for plants. Their larval stage contributes to the nutrient cycling process within the soil.

  • Larvae feed on roots of grass and weeds1.
  • This can help keep the growth of undesirable plants in check.

Table: Comparison between Flower Chafers’ Positive and Negative Impact

Positive Impact Negative Impact
Source of food for birds Damage to flower blossoms and fruits
Small animals, like shrews Irregular holes in buds, flowers, leaves
Larval stage contributes to nutrient cycling Some species can cause extensive damages in gardens

Control and Prevention Methods

Natural Control Methods

To protect your plants from flower chafers, consider using natural control methods. For example, you can:

  • Drown the beetles in a container filled with soapy water.
  • Attract beneficial insects, such as lady beetles and lacewings, which prey on flower chafers.

Chemical and Physical Barriers

In addition to natural methods, you can use chemical and physical barriers to prevent flower chafers from causing damage. Some options include:

  • Applying pesticides containing carbaryl or Sevin to protect roses, peonies, and other affected plants.
  • Creating a physical barrier around your plants, like using fine mesh netting.

Pesticides vs. Physical Barriers:

Method Pros Cons
Pesticides Can be effective in killing flower chafers Can harm beneficial insects; not eco-friendly
Physical Barriers Eco-friendly; does not harm beneficial insects May not be aesthetically pleasing; labor-intensive

Affected Plants:

  • Roses
  • Peonies
  • Grape
  • Shrubs
  • Apple
  • Birch

Remember to always read the literature accompanying any pesticides, and carefully follow the instructions. By using a combination of natural control methods, chemical barriers, and physical barriers, you can effectively prevent flower chafer damage to your plants.

Varieties and Species

Rose Chafer

The Rose Chafer (Macrodactylus subspinosus) is a light tan beetle with a darker brown head and long legs, measuring about 12mm in length. Found throughout areas with sandy soil, adults primarily feed on flower blossoms, especially roses and peonies. The larvae, or grubs, eat the roots of grasses and weeds. Rose chafers cause large, irregular holes in flower blossoms and can damage fruits like grapes, raspberries, and strawberries.

  • Pros: Pollination
  • Cons: Can cause significant damage to flowers and fruits

Macrodactylus subspinosus

Macrodactylus subspinosus is the scientific name for the Rose Chafer, as mentioned above.

Cetonia aurata

Cetonia aurata, also known as the Rose Chafer or Green Rose Chafer, is a shimmering, metallic green beetle native to Europe. This species has a similar appearance and diet to the aforementioned Rose Chafer but is more commonly found in gardens, parks, and meadows, where it feeds on nectar-rich flowers.

  • Pros: Pollination, visually pleasing appearance
  • Cons: Can cause damage to flowers if present in large numbers

Punctate Flower Chafer

The Punctate Flower Chafer (Neorrhina punctata) is a tiny beetle, often found in Asia and Australia. Known for their striking colors, these insects are usually blue, silver, or gold and feed on decaying vegetable matter and rotting wood.

  • Pros: Helps break down decaying matter, visually appealing
  • Cons: None
Beetle Pros Cons
Rose Chafer (Macrodactylus subspinosus) Pollination Damage to flowers and fruits
Cetonia aurata Pollination, visually pleasing appearance Damage to flowers (if in large numbers)
Punctate Flower Chafer (Neorrhina punctata) Break down decaying matter, visually appealing None


  1. Rose chafers: A punctual and pesky insect – MSU Extension 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
  2. Rose chafer – Integrated Pest Management – College of Agriculture and … 2


  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

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  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

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