Flower Chafer: All You Need to Know – The Fascinating Beetle 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 3

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Spotted Flower Chafer from Australia


Subject:  What kind of beetle?
Geographic location of the bug:  Wollongong, NSW, Australia.
Date: 01/10/2019
Time: 06:40 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Can you please help me identify this kind of beetle, and whether it is good to have in my garden or not?
How you want your letter signed:  Ashley Jarrett

Spotted Flower Chafer

Dear Ashley,
We quickly identified this Scarab Beetle as a Spotted Flower Chafer,
Polystigma punctatum, thanks to the Brisbane Insect site.  iNaturalist refers to the species as the Punctate Flower Chafer, Neorrhina punctatum.  According to Jungle Dragon:  “In a short season they appear in numbers suddenly then equally suddenly they are gone.”  According to Climate Watch:  “Adults are active in the daytime and are often found among the petals of flowers. They are important pollinators of many flowering plants, feeding on nectar and pollen.  Various species of flower chafers often form gregarious, mixed groups particularly on prolific flowering plants.”



Letter 2 – Flower Chafer from South Africa: Dicranorrhina derbyana


green shiny beetle 30mm +
December 30, 2009
26 December, 17:37h (Height of Summer)
Found on our drive this beetle, ca 30 mm+ long.
Placed it on lawn, but it kept disappearing under grass.
Then – because bricks were very hot – put it on a leaf . It kept running away with incredible speed…
Please identify.
South Africa, Limpopo, Hoedspruit

Dicranorrhina derbyana
Dicranorrhina derbyana

Dear Ingrid,
We didn’t have much luck locating your beetle on the Beetles of Africa website despite believing it to be in the subfamily Cetoniinae known as the Fruit and Flower Chafers, but we did find a matching image in an Ultimate Beetle Collection for sale.  We decided to leaf through the Living Jewels by Poul Beckmann coffee table book our dear friend Monika Bielser from Basel, Switzerland bought us several years ago, and we found a near match in Dicranorrhina derbyana, one of the names mentioned in the list of beetles included in the Ultimate Beetle Collection image.  Doing a web search of that name turned up some near matches on Wikimedia Commons including a nice closeup of a collection and on InsectGeeks.com, but the white markings on the elytra of your specimen are not quite as developed as the images we found either in the book or online, so we can conclude this is either a different species in the genus Dicranorrhina, a subspecies of Dicranorrhina derbyana, or a color variation of the same species.  Also since your specimen is lacking the developed horns, we believe it to be a female.

Dear Daniel
I thank you very much for your swift response and help concerning ID; especially at this time of the year, when your family will want your attention and time!
I wish you all the best for 2010
Greetings from a hot South Africa,
Ingrid Shaul

Letter 3 – Flower Chafer from Zimbabwe: Dicranorrhina derbyana


Subject: Green beetle identification
Location: Zimbabwe
February 27, 2016 6:27 am
Hi there,
I found an interesting bug that looks similar to the fruit chafer in Harare Zimbabwe. I was wider ing if I could send you a picture for identification?
Kind regards gordon
Signature: Gordon

Flower Chafer: Dicranorrhina derbyana
Flower Chafer: Dicranorrhina derbyana

Dear Gordon,
While your individual shares many characteristics with the Regal Fruit Chafer,
Ranzania splendens, it is actually a Flower Chafer, Dicranorrhina derbyana, a species represented several times on our site.  According to iNaturalist:  “These attractive beetles are mainly present in Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa” and there are at least six subspecies that represent differences in color, markings and other bodily attributes.

Letter 4 – Flower Chafer from South Africa: Dicranorrhina derbyana


Subject: What beetle is this?
Location: Centurion, South Africa
January 22, 2015 2:43 am
Hi Bugman
attached pics from my cellphone refer. Just called out into the garden by my wife, we have both never seen this one before, it was on the figtree ( in fruit). Just interested to know about it? We are in sunny South Africa in the town of Centurion in Gauteng Province….
Kind regards
Signature: Kind regards Andrew & Jenni Foxley

Flower Chafer:  Dicranorrhina derbyana
Flower Chafer: Dicranorrhina derbyana

Have just identified the beetle as a flower chafer…….  no need to reply, thanks all the same!!!

Flower Chafer:  Dicranorrhina derbyana
Flower Chafer: Dicranorrhina derbyana

Dear Andrew and Jenni Foxley,
We are happy that you have already identified your Fruit or Flower Chafer. In our opinion, it is
Dicranorrhina derbyana, a species represented on our site in several postings.

Letter 5 – Flower Chafer from Botswana: Dicranorrhina derbyana


What beetle is this
Location: Okavango, Botswana, Africa
February 27, 2011 12:55 pm
Please can you help me identify this bug.
Signature: Jules

Flower Chafer

Hi Jules,
Back in December 2009, we identified this Flower Chafer in the subfamily Cetoniinae as
Dicranorrhina derbyana.

Letter 6 – Flower Chafer from India:


Subject:  Identify this bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Bangalore ,india
Date: 07/30/2018
Time: 01:25 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi bugman,
I found this gorgeous fellow on my office floor. Would love to know more about him .
How you want your letter signed:  Shweta

Flower Chafer: Protaetia aurichalcea

Dear Shweta,
This Scarab Beetle is one of the Fruit and Flower Chafers in the subfamily Cetoniinae, and we are confident we have identified it as Protaetia aurichalcea thanks to images on BioLib and  pxhere.  According to Biodiversity India:  “Flower chafers are a group of scarab beetles, comprising the subfamily Cetoniinae. Many species are diurnal and visit flowers for pollen and nectar, or to browse on the petals. Some species also feed on fruit. The group is also called fruit and flower chafers, flower beetles and flower scarabs. There are around 4,000 species, many of them still undescribed.”

Letter 7 – Flower Chafer from South Africa


Subject:  Beetle identity please
Geographic location of the bug:   Johannesburg South Africa
Date: 01/14/2019
Time: 12:47 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello. This beetle is nesting in an oak tree could you please help identify it?
How you want your letter signed:  Trudi

Flower Chafer: Dicranorrhina derbyana

Dear Trudi,
This beautiful Scarab Beetle is one of the Fruit and Flower Chafers, and adults often feed on foods high in sugar.  We suspect this individual might be feeding on plant sap.  We found a matching image in our archives of  
Dicranorrhina derbyana which we are confident is also your species.

Letter 8 – Flower Chafer from South Africa


Subject: Green beetle
Location: South Africa, Gauteng Province, Pretoria
January 24, 2015 7:43 am
I found this green beetle in the back yard trying to hide in the grass. Not sure if it can fly or how it got here, quite curious to find out what it is. I searched a bit on the internet but couldn’t find anything about it.
Signature: George

Flower Chafer
Flower Chafer

Dear George,
Just yesterday we posted some images of this pretty Flower Chafer,
Dicranorrhina derbyana, also from South Africa.

Fruit Chafer
Fruit Chafer

Letter 9 – Mating Small Flower Chafers from South Africa


Subject: Kirstenbosch Bug
Location: Kirstenbosch National Botanic Gardens
February 26, 2017 10:17 am
I write a wildlife blog with photos I’ve taken from my travels. I want to properly identify these mating bugs so I can present correct information on their breeding habits, lifestyle, etc. This photo was taken at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens in Cape Town, SA.
Thanks for your help!
Signature: Christian

Mating Small Flower Chafers

Do you have an image that does not have the flower petals obscuring the beetles?

Unfortunately, they were in the flowers for awhile. I have this above shot of them as well. Sadly, I don’t own a macro lens and wasn’t able to get extremely close to them because of lens focus constraints. My husband also brought up looking up known pollinators for this flower, so I may try that tactic as well.
Let me know if this helps!

Mating Small Flower Chafers

Dear Christian,
Thanks for sending a second view.  These are Scarab Beetles, and we suspect they are Fruit and Flower Chafers in the Subfamily Cetoniinae or Shining Leaf Chafers in the Subfamily Rutelinae.  Representing the Cetoniinae, they might be the Small fruit|flower chafer,
Leucocelis adspersa subsp. adspersa, which is pictured on iSpot in a single posting only.  There is a better image on the Flower Beetles site with the image here.

Letter 10 – Spotted Flower Chafer


Spotted Flower Chafer from AUs
Hi guys,
Hope you like this Spotted Flower Chafer, Neorrhina punctatum, from the Gold Coast, Queensland. Note the little flies hiding out on the bush. Taken December 2007. regards,
Trevor Jinks

Hi Trevor,
We are thrilled to get your photo of a Spotted Flower Chafer. It is a gorgeous specimen.

Letter 11 – Flower Chafer from South Africa


Subject:  Beetle South Africa?
Geographic location of the bug:  Durban, South Africa
Date: 01/13/2018
Time: 02:28 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Dear bug people
It is mid summer here in Durban, South Africa and this little guy just landed on my patio. I am always keen to identify the creatures in my garden, from bugs to birds.
Hope to hear from you.
Many thanks.
How you want your letter signed:  Kevin C

Flower Chafer

Dear Kevin,
This is a Scarab Beetle in the family Scarabaeidae, and we believe it is in the subfamily Cetoniinae, the Fruit and Flower Chafers, however we could not find a matching image on Beetles of Africa or on iSpot.  Perhaps one of our readers will have better luck than we have had.

Update:  Thanks to a comment from Cesar Crash, we believe this is a Flower Chafer, Porphyronota maculatissima, which is pictured on Flower Beetles and on BeetleSpace.

Thank you. Much appreciated for your time and feedback.


  • 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.

  • 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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