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Minnesotans have a new pest to battle: the European chafer beetle, an insect known to cause major damage to lawns.

Officials with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture confirmed the arrival of the half-inch tan-colored insect after a south Minneapolis resident recently spotted a large swarm of the beetles in the yard and reported it.

It marked the first time the insect resembling a small June bug had been found in Minnesota, the Agriculture Department said.

The beetles inflict more damage to turf than Japanese beetles because they spend more time in the summer feeding on turf, the department said in a news release.

“Homeowners, golf courses and turf growers could be significantly impacted if the European chafer beetle becomes established in Minnesota,” the release read.

The pest has been in the United States since 1940, when it was discovered in New York. It is primarily found in the northeastern part of the country, but has also been found in Michigan and Wisconsin.

Adult insects emerge from the soil between mid-June and early July and are most active on warm evenings just before and after sunset. The white grubs can range from ¼-inch to an inch long. They have a dark brown head and “noticeable legs,” the agriculture department said.

Anybody who has or suspects they might have the beetles on their property is being asked to capture one of the insects, take a photo and put it in a container or plastic bag and freeze it in case the Agriculture Department wants to analyze it.

They also are asked to call the department at 1-888-545-6684 or send an e-mail to arrest.the.pest@state.mn.us.

Tim Harlow • 612-673-7768