A rose chafer by any other name

11 June 2021 | Posted in Michael Blencowe , Insects
A rose chafer by any other name
Rose chafer beetle / Crispin Holloway

By Michael Blencowe

Lewes has a lot to be proud of. Two Sussex Wildlife Trust nature reserves, a brewery as well as a dramatic history of battles, earthquakes, flooding, avalanches and explosive bonfire celebrations. It’s amazing that it’s still on the map.

But one map Lewes is still firmly found on is the distribution map of one of Britain’s most impressive beetles. Lewes is a real hot-spot for the rose chafer. It really loves it there!

The rose chafer is one seriously glamorous insect. Each one looks like it’s been designed, carefully crafted, coated in the most dazzling metallic green and hand polished. How can I put it? - the rose chafer looks expensive.

Their resemblance to Egyptian scarabs brings the romance of The Nile to any compost heap - great places for their C-shaped larvae to develop.

They’re powerful flyers too. Like miniature Transformers they can suddenly extend their smoky wings from underneath their metallic elytra (wing cases) and, with a short, sharp buzz, take to the air. Admittedly they do tend to crash into fences quite a bit. I said they were beautiful, I didn’t say they were graceful.

Rose Chafer Michael Blencowe

Lewes folk are very proud that their town is the best place in the county to find this stunning insect but there are other 'hot spots' in the county for this localised species such as Seaford and Arundel. 

Let us know (below) where you see a rose chafer this summer.   


  • Rosemary:

    11 Jun 2021 20:23:00

    Rose chafer beetle in the garden today. TN6 1TR

  • Charlotte:

    15 Jun 2021 09:54:00

    Lots of rose chafer beetles in our Brighton (BN1) garden for last 2-3 years. The beetles are very beautiful but their grubs are very popular with the local foxes who spend their time digging up my plants both in the ground and pots!

  • Gemma:

    15 Jun 2021 10:27:00

    3 Rose Chafer beetles in my garden.

  • Jacqueline:

    15 Jun 2021 15:23:00

    Lots of Rose Chafer beetles in my garden, in Seaford, and grubs in my rose plant containers I discover when repotting them recently. BN25 2DL

  • Pat Weeks:

    19 Jun 2021 21:44:00

    two rose chafers in my garden 11 June. TN22 3AP

  • Pip Piper:

    26 Jun 2021 22:10:00

    Hailsham BN27 1NG last week. Flying near my roses!
    Also found a dead one and grubs last year. (Photos available)

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