Puketi Forest Trust, restoring and protecting the native wildlife, trees and plants of Puketi Forest in Northland, New Zealand.

Manuka Chafer Beetle

As its name suggests, this bright green little beetle, Pyronota festiva, about 10mm long, feeds on manuka, which contains a strong oil, so it must be tough! It is a member of the Scarab family of beetles, and its larger relative, the green cockchafer, can be heard buzzing around wildly on summer evenings.

Their habitat ranges from the water to soil, forest litter, timber, flowers, fruit, strored foods, skins and furs, clothing and cloths, in decaying animal and vegetable materials, and on animals. In general, the family is recognisable by the presence of hard wing-cases. All beetles go through the usual four stages (egg, larva, pupa, and adult) of the typical insect transformation or metamorphosis.

Manuka chafer-beetle

Beetles are one of man’s most serious pests. Some beetles have larvae which feed voraciously on plant roots (some also feed above ground at night), as well as adults which often defoliate trees and other vegetation. Many serious beetle pests are wood borers of several groups (weevils, longhorn borers of several groups, etc.); others are serious pests as seed feeders. Not all beetles are harmful and some may be used to great advantage. Many “ground beetles” (Carabidae) are beneficial as predators on other insects, while some beetles are useful as controlling agents on weeds.

Did you know? The Maori called the manuka chafer beetle kerewai or reporepowai because of its habit of getting stuck in muddy stream banks (repo = mud, wai = water).