Warm calm evenings bring swamps of cockchafer and christmas beetles to the garden. They feed on eucalypt leaves and are attracted to lights . Some evenings you can hear the buzz of their feeding frenzies. In the daytime, they hide in the soil or under debris.
The Heteronyx spp. (pictured left)and Liparetrus spp., are known as Melolonthine beetles as they belong to the beetle subfamily Melolonthinae
I scooped these out of our swimming pool this morning and fed them to our ducks. Sugar gliders will consume large quanities of these beetles in the warmer months. Insect eating birds will feed on the cockchafer grubs and christmas beetle larvae. Flowering sweet bursaria bushes will attract a wasp that will hunt out the grubs.
Damage by cockchafer beetles may be caused by both adults and larvae. Adult cockchafer beetles are usually regarded as minor pests of eucalypts and the larval stages are not generally considered as pests in forest situations. However, the larval stages feed on roots and organic matter in the soil and under certain conditions they may cause significant damage in newly established plantations by reducing growth and killing trees.