Maladera insanabilis

Maladera insanabilis (Brenske)

(Formerly known as Maladera matrida Argaman)

Taxonomic placing: Insecta, Holometabola, Coleoptera, Scarabaeidae.

Common name: White grub.

Geographical distribution: The Middle East, Iran, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and North Africa.

Host plants: Polyphgous.

Morphology: Body of adult 7- 9 mm long, red-brown, dorsum of thorax punctate, dorsum of elytra with longitudinal parallel stripes. Larva whitish with brown head, about 20 mm long.

Life history: These insects are mostly active in at twilight and later, at night, being attracted to light (and thus flying into houses). The adults feed on the foliage of various fruit tree leaves. They place their eggs (60-100/female) on wet soil, wherein the emerging larvae live and feed on various roots. This pest usually raises 2 annual generations.

Economic importance: Both the larvae and the adults of this this beetle cause economic damage. The adults by nibbling on the foliage of avocado, cherry, citrus, guava (which it may defoliate) and macadamia, the larvae by feeding on the roots of sweet potato, peanuts and strawberry plants. Maladera insanabilis is considered an invasive, dangerous plant pest in the eastern Mediterranean region. In addition, due to flying into houses, it sometimes invades ears and become a medical problem.


Monitoring: The pest adults are attracted to yellow plastic sheets.

Chemical control: Organophosphates and pyrethroids were very effective against the pest.

Biological control: Entomopathogenic nematodes applied in the field killed the pest adults within 5-6 days.


Ahrens, D., Arnone, M. and Massa, B. 2006. Maladera insanabilis (Brenske, 1894), invasive species in the Mediterranean region and its distribution in Libya (Coleoptera Scarabaeidae Sericini). Il Naturalista siciliano 30: 349-357.

Al-Fwaeer, A.M. (and 6 co-authors). 2013. Study of pests attacking guava in Jordan. Angewandten Biologie Forschung 1:43-48.

Argaman, Q. 1990: Redescription of Maladera matrida (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Melolonthinae). Israel Journal of Entomology 24: 21-27.

Ashok, B. 2011. Susceptibility of eggs, pupae and adults of white grub, Maladera insanabilis (Brenske) to entomopathogenic nematode, Heterorhabditis bacteriophora Poinar. Indian Journal of Entomology 73: 360-364.

Falachal, L. and Shani, A. 2000: Trapping efficiency and sex ratio of Maladera matrida beetles in yellow and black traps. Journal of Chemical Ecology 26: 2619-2622.

Ben-Yakir, D., Gol’berg, A.M. and Chen, M. 1995. Laboratory efficacy screening of insecticides for control of Maladera matrida larvae. Phytoparasitica 23: 119.

Glazer, I. and Golberg, A. 1993. Field efficacy of entomopathogenic nematodes against the beetle Maladera matrida (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae). Biocontrol Science and Technology 3: 367-376.

Gol’berg, A.M., Yathom, S., Almogi-Labin, A. and Fridland-Wunder, G. 1989. Diurnal and seasonal occurrence, feeding habits and mating behavior of Maladera matrid adults in Israel. Phytoparasitica 17: 81–89.

Golberg, A., Avigdori-Avidov, H. and Nuriel, A. 1989. Insecticide control of a white grub, Maladera matrida, on sweet potato. Phytoparasitica 17: 175-183.

Roth, Y. 1989. The dung beetle, Maladera matrida, as a new otologic nuisance. Harefuah 116: 468-469 (in Hebrew).