Quick facts

Common name: rose chafer

Scientific name: Cetonia aurata

Family: Scarabaeidae

Habitat: woodland, grassland, gardens

Diet: flowers, nectar, pollen

Predators: birds

Origin: native

What do rose chafers look like?

Adults: are iridescent emerald green and purple-bronze in colour, and covered in fine hairs. They are large beetles, measuring around 20mm in length, and have a V-shape on the back, where the wing cases meet.

Larvae: are yellow-white and curved in a C-shape.

Not to be confused with: the noble chafer, which is a much rarer species. The noble chafer has a distinct ‘waist’, whereas the rose chafer is spherical in shape.

rose chafer beetle resting on honeysuckle

Credit: Andrew Newman Nature Pictures / Alamy Stock Photo

What do rose chafers eat?

Adults: eat flowers, nectar and pollen.
Larvae: feed on decaying vegetation and are often found in composting piles.

Did you know?

They are often considered a garden pest because of their favourite food source, the rose.

How do rose chafers breed?

Female rose chafers lay eggs underground and, once emerged, larvae continue to live and feed in decaying vegetation underground for several years. They pupate in the autumn but do not appear until the following spring.

rose chafer pupae

Credit: Blickwinkel / Alamy Stock Photo

Where do rose chafers live?

The rose chafer is widespread in the UK and most common in the south. It can be found during the summer in woodland and grassland, most often seen feeding on flowers, particularly roses.

Did you know?

They are noisy and fly somewhat clumsily, similar to bumblebees.

Signs and spotting tips

Look out for adult rose chafers from May to October, when they are active. These beetles love the sun, so keep an eye out for them crawling along flowers on warm, sunny days – they favour dog roses in particular.

rose chafer grub lying on the ground

Credit: Blickwinkel / Alamy Stock Photo

Threats and conservation

Rose chafers are widespread and not currently believed to be under threat.