ST. PAUL -- Minnesota’s first sighting of an invasive European chafer beetle was recently reported by a South Minneapolis resident after noticing large swarms of beetles in the homeowner’s yard.

Officials with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture confirmed the report and stated in a Monday news release that “home lawns, golf courses, and turf growers are at great risk if the European chafer beetle becomes established in Minnesota.”

The beetle was discovered in the United States in 1940 in New York state and is currently found in the Northeast as well as Michigan and Wisconsin.

According to the news release, the larvae of the European chafer can cause more damage to turf grass than Japanese beetles because they spend a longer portion of the summer feeding.

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.

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The adult 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. However, adults do not eat at all, so they don’t defoliate other plants like Japanese beetles are known to do.

The white grubs can range from ¼-inch to 1-inch long with a dark brown head and noticeable legs.

The Agriculture Department is stepping up surveillance to determine the extent of the beetle’s presence in Minnesota.

Before making a report, anyone who has seen the suspected beetle is asked to capture the insect, take a picture and put it in a container or plastic bag and place it in the freezer. The MDA will be in contact about collecting specimens.

Minnesotans should email or call 1-888-545-6684 to report suspected European chafer beetles.