Wednesday, June 22, 2011

They're rose chafers... I think!

I think I've finally figured it out -- these little beasties are rose chafers, or Macrodactylus subspinosus!

According to Jeffrey Hahn, Associate Professor in the Department of Entomology at the University of Minnesota:

• An adult rose chafer is a moderate-sized insect, slender, pale green to tan in color with reddish‑brown or orangish spiny legs and short antennae.

• The larval stage, or grub, has a brown head and conspicuous legs and its body is bent into a ‘C’ shape. Fully grown, a rose chafer larva is about 3/4-inch long.

• Adult rose chafers feed primarily on flower blossoms, especially roses and peonies, causing large, irregular holes. They also damage fruits particularly grape, raspberry, and strawberry.

• Rose chafer also feed on the foliage of many trees, shrubs and other plants, such as rose, grape, apple, cherry, and birch. Rose chafers typically damage leaves by eating the leaf tissue between the large veins, a type of injury known as skeletonizing.

Now that I know what they are, I can figure out what to do about them! Stay tuned!


Chris said...

Don't think I've seen those over here. Plenty of other beasties about though munching their way through the crops.

What about encouraging some good guys to eat them in a sort of biological warfare tactic.

Do birds like to eat them?

Mama Pea said...

Omigosh! Glad you got an ID on these guys! I have never heard of so many insect problems in gardens or on flowers as there have been this year. It's getting kind of scary. Looks like you have quite a population of them. Wish you lots of luck in getting rid of the whole batch!

Fiona said...

Chris -- I love the idea of biological warfare, but I've read these blighters are toxic to chickens. I have to read more on what exactly it is that is toxic because I have some ducks that could sure use the work!

Mama Pea -- apparently these pests are common to Minnesota, so I'm hoping you don't ever get first-hand experience with them. They're a short-term problem but SO destructive!

Erin said...

Nice! The I.D. I mean, not the insect LOL

Fiona said...

Thanks, Erin. As soon as I stopped confusing them with JBs, it became easier to figure out what they were! Thanks to Google, that is :)

Deb said...

Sorry I hadn't checked in in awhile or I could have told you. We have these too. All over my marigolds and basil two years ago that prompted me to visit our local extension office. They're fortunately short-lived but while they are around they seem fairly indiscriminate. I have found rose chafers all over a wide variety of plants in our gardens.

WE hand pick them off and place them in a bucket of soapy water. This year we also put up traps with a lure that is supposed to attract them. We will see how our battle goes this year...

Deb said...

And yes, they are toxic to chickens.

Fiona said...

Thanks for sharing your first-hand experience with these beasties, Deb. You're right about them being indiscriminate -- the peonies are now just a launching point for the rest of my flowers! But yes, they are short-lived -- thank goodness!

trashmaster46 said...

Wow, another bug I've learned about this week. I'll have to keep them in mind - we're hoping to start growing grapes next year.

Calling Ravens said...

Hi Fiona! Thought of you when I ran across an article in the Mother Earth News about Spinosad:

I don't know if it will work on your beasties, but thought I would pass it along!
Hope you have a great week!

Trailshome said...

Those used to be a huge problem for me here in Northern Indiana. They'd eat all blooms, flower or vegetable, and actually eat young beans and other fruit. I was told that the sprays to eradicate them were too toxic to use on vegetables. The previous owners had used a lawn service and lots of sprays. As the place went organic under my hands, they gradually dissapeared, until I haven't seen one for years now. Generally healthier practices, and lots of birds, seem to have taken care of them, but it took years. Good luck.

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