Ceramida (Melolontha papposa)

Melolontha papposa (Illiger, 1803) or ceramida

Coleoptera of the family Scarabaeidae scientifically known as Ceramida spp (Melolontha papposa Illiger, 1803). Commonly called white grub of olive tree, its larva is very large and feeds on the roots of the olive tree.

Stages of development

Egg: it is colored white and has a size of 1.5×1.8 mm being shaped almost spherical .

Larva: the larvae are white (“white grub“) and reach a very large size in maximum development (4 centimeters ). They are agile and”aggressive”when handled.

Adult: size between 1.5 and 1.9 cm and variant color from straw to dark brown. There are appreciable differences between females and males. Females are heavier, have no membranous hind wings and their hind legs are more robust. In males, the shape of their “rolled mace” antennas stands out.

Melolontha papposa biological cycle

The complete cycle of the white grub olive tree is long, ending four years after laying the egg.

White grub of the olive tree, big white grub

Reproduction: adults make the mating flights during the rain, in the months of fall.

Hibernation: Ceramida females fertilized during the fall spend the winter underground.

Sunset: During the spring the females begin to lay at 40-70 centimeters from the level of the ground.

Hatching: In the month of May the larvae leave the egg and go to the roots of the olive tree where they begin to feed.

Pupa: At the end of the summer, the Melolontha papposa larvae born three years back deepen more than a meter under the ground where they stay in pupa state until its metamorphosis ends.

After metamorphosis, Ceramida adults remain buried until the conditions for mating are met.

Damages caused by Ceramida

The larvae of the white grub or Cerramida feed almost exclusively on the olive roots, being virtually its only source of food in the olive grove

The damages that occur in the olive roots depend on the population level of the pest.

The seedlings of young olive trees are more sensitive and may end up dying if There are a lot of white grubs. Therefore, we must remain alert in infected areas of Melolontha papposa that we want to replant.

Natural predators of the white grub

The white grub of the olive tree is a bite appreciated by wild boars and other mammals. In olive groves where wild boars are present we can find numerous “ plowed conscientious” olive trees in search of this appetizing source of protein. It is also common to find cavities excavated by other animals at the foot of the base of the olive trees.

Treatment against Melolontha papposa

It is complicated the action against adults of Melolontha papposa when most of the time is found in great depth.

It is necessary to act against the larvae, although these are also dispersed throughout the soil at varying depths. The moment where white grub larvae are most susceptible is in their first stage of development, when they feed near the surface.

The time of application of the treatment must be June. The recommended application form of the insecticide is next to the irrigation water at times when the soil is not saturated with moisture.
We must use authorized products by the ministry for this purpose.

Recommended Reading

You can find more interesting information about pests or diseases of the olive tree:

Treatments and varieties resistant to Verticillium.

All about the black scale olive tree.

Information on Prays or olive moth.

Influence of the climate on the olive tree.

Characteristics of the Violet mealybug.

Milkweed of the olive tree.

Varieties resistant to Bold.

Olive tree borer control, cycle and treatment of the pest.

Anthracnose of the olive tree.


We have translated the information on our website from Spanish to English. Note that some words may have seen their meaning altered during their translation.

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