Polyphylla fullo (L.)
Common name: Pine chafer, June beetle.
Geographical distribution: The Mediterranean region, Europe to the Caucasus.
Host plants: The foliage of pines (Pinaceae) for the adults, the roots of Poaceae (Graminae) and Cyperaceae for the larvae.
Morphology: Body of adult 32-40 mm long, convex, dark red-brown, elytra covered with minute white setae that form irregular whitish spots. Thorax with 3 longitudinal whitish lines. Antennae well-developed, lamellated, particularly in the male. The larvae are C-shaped, 60 to 80 mm long, body whitish, legs yellow, head and last abdominal segments dark.
Life history: This beetle has a triennial life cycle in the Middle East. The adults emerge during June or July, feed on tree (especially pines, Pinus spp.) foliage and then oviposit (about 30 eggs/female) usually in sandy soils. The larvae feed on various roots during late summer and early autumn and burrow deeper in the soil to overwinter. Next spring they return to the root zone to feed till next autumn. During the next spring and early summer they complete their development, pupate and remain inactive in the soil till the next season, when the adults emerge.
Economic importance: Polyphylla fullo is one of the most damaging pests of young orchards and vineyards, potatoes and many other crops in southwestern Turkey. Damage rates may come to 50 and 80%, but in vineyards that are grown in sandy soil 100% injury has been reported, especially when several larvae feed on the same host. Most damage is due to the larvae. When young they feed on roots of herbaceous plants, as they become older they gnaw through roots of shrubs and trees and cause wilting and even death. The adults are mostly harmless. More recently this beetle has become a serious pest in Antalya, infesting turfgrass in many touristic places, parks and gardens.
Horticultural methods: Use of high-quality seeds and planting stock. Leaving the soil fallow for a number of years has been suggested, although that is very expensive and removes the orchard from production.
Chemical control: This pest is very hard to control because of it mostly lives in the soil. A pesticide application is advised when 1–2 larvae (young or older) per plant root detected are seen, and repeated insecticide applications to the soil when the pests are very numerous.
Biological control: Applications of entomopathogenic nematodes (EPN) were not very effective against P. fullo larvae. In the laboratory products of the entomopathgenic fungi Beauveria bassiana (Bals.) Vuill. and of Metarhizium anisopliae (Metsch.) Sorokin killed about 70% of the pest population. A tachinid endoparasitoid attacks the pest in Turkey but its effect is not known.
Demir, S., Karagoz, M., Hazir, S. and Kaya, H.K. 2015. Evaluation of entomopathogenic nematodes and their combined application against Curculio elephas and Polyphylla fullo larvae. Journal of Pest Science 88: 163–170.
Erler, F. and Ozgur Ates, A. 2015. Potential of two entomopathogenic fungi, Beauveria bassiana and Metarhizium anisopliae, as biological control agents against the June beetle (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae). Journal of Insect Science 15: 44.
Karagöz, M., Aksu, S., Gözüaçik, C. and Kara, K. 2011. Microphthalma europaea Egger (Diptera: Tachinidae), a new record for Turkey. Turkish Journal of Zoology 35: 887-889.