All quiet on the chafer front …

Chafers are a serious insect pest in the right situation. We tend not to suffer as badly in the UK as we do from crane fly, but in those unlucky cases the damage can be significant.

Whilst they may look like they can be easily dealt with in a ‘bush tucker trial‘, the scale of the secondary pest damage they lead to is eye watering. Please log any sightings of adult chafers on PestTracker so we can improve our picture of the distribution, and flight timings, to help guide future treatment programs.

Chafer grub damage to golf coure turf

So far in 2022 we’ve had very few chafer sightings reported, and as you can see from the PestTracker graph below we would usually expect to be seeing them by now.

For crane fly we get the best part of 1000 reports logged a year, which is a great sample size, and allows us to make informed decisions.

The situation for chafers is a little different, we don’t get nearly as many logged, but anything we can do to change this is worth a shot.

The more information we have the better control we can expect from our treatments.

Chafer sightings from pest tracker 2019, 2020 & 2021

The pests

We have a few different species in the UK (nice glossy pictures in PestTracker for those who are interested!), more abundant in warmer and wetter regions, generally in free draining soils. Encouraged by higher organic matter levels. The greatest risk factor will be previous/historical infestations but as the climate changes we expect to see ranges shift.

You can see in the image below the damage that can occur, it’s happening for 2 reasons;

Damage by secondary pests looking for plump chafer grubs under turf

1) The feeding activity of the grubs on the plant roots can be significant, weakening the plant and its ability to get access to water and nutrients, and also to effectively bind to the soil below.

2) Secondary pests; birds, badgers foxes etc. hunting for the grubs will dig up the surface to access the grubs below. In severe infestations root systems are so damaged that you can pull up sheets of loose turf like a poorly hung sheet of wet wallpaper.

Thank you to all those who have, or will be logging sightings as they come up, keep your eyes peeled!

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