DESCRIPTION: Adults: chunky, metallic blue-green, 1/2-inch beetles with bronze wing covers, long legs, and fine hairs covering body. Larvae: fat, dirty white grubs with brown heads; up to 3/4 inch; found in sod. Found in all states east of the Mississippi River. Many other species produce C-shaped white larval grubs; see also White Grubs.
DAMAGE: Adults eat flowers and skeletonize leaves of a broad range of plants; plants may be completely defoliated. Adults feed on fruit, such as raspberries and plums, opening a site for disease infection. Larvae feed on roots of lawn grasses and garden plants.
LIFE CYCLE: Overwintering larvae deep in the soil move toward the surface in spring to feed on roots, pupating in early summer. Adults emerge, feed on plants, and lay eggs in late summer; eggs hatch into larvae that overwinter in soil. One generation occurs every 1 to 2 years.
CONTROL: In early morning, shake beetles from plants onto dropcloths, then drown them in soapy water; or shake beetles into a can of soapy water to drown. Cover plants with floating row cover; apply Heterorhabditis nematodes or milky spore to sod to kill larvae; attract native species of parasitic wasps and flies; organize a community-wide trapping program to reduce adult beetle population; spray plants attacked by beetles with insecticidal soap. As a last resort, spray with neem.
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