The Masked Chafer is a common lawn pest that attacks many different types of grass throughout the United States, stopping short of the northernmost parts of the Canadian border states. Also known as Cyclocephela spp., most of the damage caused by this grub occurs during September and early October.
An adult Masked Chafer can be identified by its dull, dark shade of yellow or ocher. Its key identifying feature is a dark brownish-black band connecting the eyes that makes it look like this lawn pest is wearing a mask. There are four different species of this lawn-damaging insect, determined by geography: Northern, Southern, Southwestern and Western. There are some key differences between the four species. For instance, hairs cover the thorax and wing covers of the Northern species, whereas hairs are sparse on the Southern species of this lawn pest. However, there are some similarities—the raster pattern on the grubs is irregular on both the Northern and Southern species so the only way to distinguish between these two species with certainty is to dissect the mouth parts. Most importantly, the Southwestern and Western species are far less common and rarely present a problem in lawns.
There are two methods for controlling Masked Chafers that TruGreen® recommends: 1. Use professionally applied pest control designed to prevent excess lawn pest populations, which can cause damage to your lawn 2. Kill insects, grubs and other lawn pests before they have a chance to damage your lawn Proper mowing and watering techniques can also help foster a healthy lawn that's more tolerant to lawn pest attacks—plus you'll get a lawn you'll want to live on in the process.