Distribution. Spring rose beetle is a native species found in the northeastern United States from New
York to North Carolina, west to Colorado and Minnesota. In Canada it is known from southern Ontario.
Host Plants. The adults feed on the blossoms of many plants. Wild and cultivated rose are favored food plants, which is the basis for its common name. Blossoms, and sometimes fruits, of other economically important plants such as blackberry, cotton, clover, coreopsis, hairy vetch, hollyhock, honeysuckle, iris, lilies, perennial pea, timothy, and peony also are consumed. Vegetable crops attacked by adults include bean, cantaloupe, corn, cowpea, and cucumber. Among weeds fed upon by adults are dewberry, Rubus spp.; elderberry, Sambucus canadensis; hoary verbena, Verbena stricta; horsemint, Mondarda punctata; plantain, Plantago spp.; prickly pear cactus, Opuntia humifusa; water lily, Nymphaea sp.; water willow, Justicia americana; wild parsnip, Pastinaca sativa, and others. Larval feeding habits are not well-known, but spring rose beetle larvae are reported to damage roots of corn, cotton, peanut, potato, soybean, strawberry, sweet potato, and various grasses and grain crops.
Natural Enemies. Little is known about the natural enemies of this insect. An entomopathogenic nematode, Steinernema glaseri (Nematoda: Steinerne-matidae), is known to affect the larvae of this and other scarab beetles (Poinar, 1978).
Life Cycle and Description. There is a single generation per year, with overwintering occurring in the last larval instar. In Virginia, adults are abundant starting in May or June, while eggs are abundant in June. In Minnesota and Ontario, adults were reported to be common in June and July, while eggs were found in July and early August.
The biology of spring rose beetle was given by Hayes (1921), Hoffmann (1936), and Grayson (1946). The larvae were described by Ritcher (1966).
This insect is known principally as a pest of roses, as the adults feed greedily on the blossoms. However, the larvae feed on the below-ground parts of several plants, and they not infrequently are associated with sweet potato and peanuts.
Historically, larvae are usually more abundant in low and heavy soil than in well-drained, sandy soil. Soils high in organic matter also are more prone to injury. Application of liquid or granular insecticide to the soil at planting-time or early in the growth of the crop has generally prevented injury. However, in Colorado injury has occurred in sandy soils, and it
has proven difficult to attain protection with planting-time treatments, because the insecticide dissipates before eggs hatch (Peairs, pers. comm.).
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