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Redheaded pasture cockchafer

There have been further reports of pasture cockchafers causing feeding damage in various locations. Philip Jobling (NuFarm) has reported redheaded pasture cockchafers (Adoryphorus couloni) in large areas between Geelong and Warrnambool, in the Western district, Victoria. There have also been unconfirmed reports of cockchafers west of Horsham, in the Wimmera district of Victoria, and Cootamundra, in the South West Slopes of New South Wales.

Redheaded pasture cockchafer larvae are ‘C’ shaped and whitish in colour with three pairs of yellowish legs and a hard, reddish-brown head capsule. Newly hatched larvae are only 5 mm long but when mature, grubs reach up to 30 mm in length. Adults are stout, shiny black beetles about 15 mm long.

To check for cockchafer grubs, dig in the affected areas or look on the soil surface for tunnel entrances. Control of redheaded cockchafers is complicated. There are no synthetic insecticides that provide effective control because of their subterranean feeding habits. Re-sowing areas made bare by cockchafer damage using a higher seeding rate is often the most effective strategy.

For further information on pasture cockchafers, refer to PestFacts Issue No. 2.

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