The chafer is an insect very present in our gardens. However, a victim of its bad reputation because of the damage it causes on crops, it has practically disappeared in some regions.
The chafer, a discreet beetle
The common chafer is an insect of the Scarabaeidae family. Hardly visible during the day, it moves noisily at nightfall. It can be recognized by its mahogany brown elytra, sometimes slightly streaked, and its predominantly red antennae. It measures 2.5 cm in length and 1.5 cm in width. Its larva, which sometimes causes problems in the vegetable garden because of its voracity, measures about 3.5 cm in length. It is whitish, ringed, the end of the body is thinner than the head. The latter is brown, under it, long legs appear. The larva can live 3 years underground before transforming into an adult in July.
In the past, we could witness spectacular beetle flights. Nowadays this insect is becoming rare because of the massive use of pesticides, intensive agriculture, and the destruction of its living environment.
Problems posed in the garden by the chafer
The adult chafer is not a major concern in the garden. It feeds mainly on the leaves of trees and shrubs. The larva is much more active, since it takes 3 years to flourish, well sheltered from the earth. It particularly appreciates root vegetables among vegetable plants and can also cause some damage to the lawn.
Fight without destroying
To prevent the chafer from proliferating too much in your garden, promote biodiversity! Install compound hedges that will attract birds, their main predators. Keep a pile of wood at the bottom of the garden to provide a refuge for the hedgehog, which delights in its larvae. Do not use phytosanitary products so as not to upset the beautiful balance of your garden.
The larvae appreciate loose and moist soil, try as much as possible to water copiously but less often.
To prevent females from finding an ideal nesting site in your lawn, never scarify it in summer and leave a good height of grass (10 cm), so females will be dissuaded.
In the vegetable garden, avoid working the soil during the egg-laying period and do not bury organic matter which will attract them irreparably.
In the event of a serious attack, it will be possible to eliminate the larvae manually, or by spreading nematodes or Beauveria brongniartii , a fungus to which they will not resist.