Crop Scene Investigation – 9: What had been feasting on Matt’s corn roots? – Solved


European chafer (white grub) was the pest that vanished after feasting on the roots in Matt’s cornfield. The chafers couldn’t be found  because they had already moved on to the next stage of their life cycle.

European chafers overwinter in the soil below the frost line. During the early part of the growing season, the larvae move up to the surface and feed on the corn plants fibrous roots. When they finish feeding by mid-June, these pests pupate and emerge from the soil as beetles and fly away to mate. In Matt’s field, they left behind some key pieces of evidence – the little holes where they emerged from the soil and the skin they shed during pupation.

Better Farming - April 2008