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St Paul (KROC AM News) - There’s a new bug Minnesotans are being warned to be on the lookout for.

And we’re being told it has a voracious appetite - which is bad news for lawns and golf courses across the state.

Like the Japanese beetle that has become a problem for Minnesotans, this bug feasts on grassroots. And that’s all it eats.

The Minnesota Dept. of Agriculture says the European chafer beetle does all its damage to lawns, golf courses, and other turf areas while in the grub stage. The department says the grub can cause more damage to turf than Japanese beetles because it spends a longer portion of the summer feeding on turf. However, adults do not eat at all, so they do not defoliate other plants like Japanese beetles are known to do.

The department has this ominous warning - “Home lawns, golf courses, and turf growers could be significantly impacted if the European chafer beetle becomes established in Minnesota.”

The beetle was recently found by a resident of south Minneapolis who noticed large swarms of the bug. The MDA worked with the US Department of Agriculture to confirm the identity of the insect since it had never been found in Minnesota before.

The European chafer beetle was discovered in the United States in 1940 in New York and is currently found in the northeastern U. S., as well as Michigan and Wisconsin.

The adult insects are about a half-inch long and tannish in color. They are similar to the “June bugs” commonly found in Minnesota in early summer but are generally a bit smaller and lighter in color. The beetles emerge from the soil between mid-June and early July and are active on warm evenings for several hours just before and after sunset. The white grubs can range from ¼-inch to 1-inch long with a dark brown head and noticeable legs.

Since this is the first reported discovery of the European chafer beetle in Minnesota, the MDA would like to better understand where this insect may be in the state and how big of an issue this is to homeowners, golf courses, and turf growers. Minnesotans can report suspected European chafer to the MDA’s Arrest the Pest line at arrest.the.pest@state.mn.us or 1-888-545-6684. Before making a report, please capture the insect, take a picture, and put the insect in a container or plastic bag and place it in the freezer. The MDA will contact you if the specimen is needed for confirmation.

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