Bronze, Brown, Black Beetles

Bronze, brown and black beetles include the adult grass grub (brown beetle), New Zealand's major lawn and pasture pest and other similar chafer beetles.

Identify the problem Identify the problem

Bronze or Brown beetle is a term used to describe adult grass grub and other similar beetle species that are found throughout New Zealand.  Adult grass grub are more properly known as brown beetle. Their grubs are considered to be New Zealand's major pasture and lawn pest. Grass grub lawn damage shows as patchy areas of dead grass; usually seen from March. Another similar lawn and pasture pest is the black beetle.

In October, November and December when the adult brown/bronze beetles emerge from their pupae, massed flights of soft buzzing, slow flying beetles often occur on still warm nights. Later, these beetles congregate in huge numbers, they feed on fruit trees and shrubs which are often severely defoliated.

Eggs are laid in the soil during summer; normally hatching after about 2 weeks. The small larvae then feed on the roots of grasses until spring, growing to 20-25 mm long. Infested turf and pasture turns yellow and dies off leaving a dead mat of turf.

During the late autumn and winter the grubs do not eat in the top 5cm of soil. The grubs are usually found about 15 cm below the surface and control of the grub requires getting insecticide to this level in the soil. Treatment is most effective from February to March.


To get rid of bronze, brown or black beetle follow these steps:

  • Spray - To control adult beetles between October and January spray foliage of affected trees and shrubs with Kiwicare PLANThealth Spectrum.


  • To protect grass paddocks and lawns from grass grub apply LawnPro Protect. Ideal for use from February to late Autumn but can be used effectively through to Spring. The granules must be watered in, so sprinkle before moderate to heavy rain (13 mm) or water the area thoroughly after treatment with a sprinkler.

Did You Know Did You Know

  • The scientific name of brown beetle (grass grub) is - Costelytra zealandica.
  • The scientific name for bronze beetle is - Eucolaspis brunnea.
  • The scientific name for the black beetle is - Heteronychus arator.
  • There are about 140 chafer beetle species in New Zealand. Species in the Odentaria genus are hairy/velvety while those in the Costelytra genus are smooth and shiny.

Join the conversation

Solutions for you...

Plant Health Spectrum

Plant Health Spectrum

Insect pest and disease control for roses and ornamentals.


Doesn’t sound like your problem?

Our Problem Solver can help! >>

Related Problems

Join the conversation

Store Locator

Already know what you want?
Find your closest retailer.

Find Now