Although adults are not known to feed, larvae of the European chafer will attack the roots of turfgrass, clover, alfalfa, small grains, soybean and a variety of nursery stock including containerized plants.
European chafer larvae damage plants by feeding on roots. Larvae typically feed from July through October and may remain high in the soil profile into winter. If conditions are favorable, European chafer larvae are able to feed under the cover of snow and are the first grubs to resume feeding in the spring (as early as March). Dead and dying spots in lawns where chafer flights have been observed the previous June should be suspect and this type of injury is usually visible by late summer. Relatively low level larval infestations can cause extensive root loss in containerized nursery stock.
The European chafer was likely introduced to North America from Europe during the first half of the 20th century and was first detected in Newark, New York in 1940. Since then, it has spread westward into lower Ontario, Michigan and Ohio and southward into Maryland and West Virginia. In 2006, European chafer was collected from traps in Porter and Allen Counties in northern Indiana. In 2007, European chafer was collected from traps in Kosciusko County.