Beetles

Beetles 2018-06-10T09:13:29+00:00

Get to know Beetles

Legend: GOOD BAD

Get to know the Elm Leaf Beetle Xanthogaleruca luteola

Elm Leaf Beetle
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  • The Elm leaf beetle is a yellow to olive green with black stipes on their protective wing covers and black spots on their thorax.
    Elm leaf beetles are around 6mm in length.
  • The beetles lay tiny lemon coloured eggs in clumps on the underside of leaves in spring, which hatch in 7-10 days.
  • At first the larvae (grubs) are very small and almost black. The larvae increase in size through summer reaching a length of 12 mm, when they are black and yellow and ‘caterpillar-like’.
  • Around December to January, the larvae migrate down the trunk of the tree to pupate (is the life stage of some insects undergoing transformation) in the soil or in crevices on the lower trunk.
  • After 1 – 2 weeks, new beetles emerge and, in warm summers, the new generation carries on breeding.
  • The new generation of beetles continue to feed on the leaves for several weeks.
  • Elm leaf beetles hibernate in sheltered places during winter and emerge in spring to feed on the young leaves.
  • When the weather starts to get cooler in autumn, the adult beetles see shelter for winter in peoples’ homes, wood heaps, sheds and cars. In spring, when the weather starts to warm up again, they re-emerge and start looking for Elm trees again.

The Elm Leaf Beetle is a species of beetle from Europe. It was found on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula in 1989 and has now spread to throughout the east coast of Australia.
Elm leaf beetle adults leave holes in the leaves called ‘shot-holes. Elm leaf beetles larvae cause a different type of damage called ‘skeletonisation’, where everything is eaten except for the leaf veins. Skeletonised leaves turn brown and drop prematurely.

Adults and larvae together can cause severe defoliation of elms, which can weaken mature trees. Elms suffering from repeated elm leaf beetle attack are also more susceptible to other pests and disease.

Although a single, heavy infestation of Elm leaf beetles can completely defoliate an elm, the tree will send out new leaves in the next season. However, the growth of the tree will be affected and, if Elm leaf beetles are not controlled, the tree may eventually die after a few years. If the beetles are controlled early, then elm trees will recover.

Keep elm trees watered in dry periods. Fertilise in late winter with slow release fertiliser. Avoid compaction of soil over root zone. Encourage good soil conditions by covering the root zone with mulch rather than lawn.

People are often concerned that they have borers in their homes when they find large numbers of the Elm leaf beetles emerging in their homes. Elm leaf beetles will cause no problems to peoples’ homes; they just use them to stay warm and secure over winter.

Get to know the Black Carpet Beetle Attagenus unicolor

Black Carpet Beetle
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  • There are a number of carpet beetle species in Australia with the common ones being the Variegated and the Black carpet beetle.
  • Larvae is up to 7mm long when fully developed in larvae stage.
  • The larvae are usually reddish-brown to dark brown in colour with stiff bristles over the body.
  • The beetle is 3-5 mm in length
  • The Black carpet beetle is elongate-oval in shape, and a dark brown to shiny black in colour with brownish leg colour.
  • Females will lay their egg in a dark undisturbed area, where the larvae will eat and develop.
  • Eggs hatch between 14-28 days
  • Larvae feed up to 9 months, after which they pupate (pupal stage – metamorphosis is 14-21 days)
  • Adults live between 20-40 days
  • The Black carpet beetle’s life cycles is 6-12 months.
  • The Black carpet beetle is found throughout Australia.
  • The beetle lives in urban areas, forests and woodlands.
  • The adult beetles eat flowers and live mostly outdoors.
  • The beetle may invade homes, whose larvae then feeds on carpet and similar fabrics.
  • As a result, treatment indoors is ineffective in the long term because the adult beetles easily re-enter and infest buildings with their larvae.
  • The most common way these beetles are entering homes is through cut flowers being brought in from the garden.

Good: The Black carpet beetle in its natural environment, forests and woodlands, are good and beneficial as the larvae feed on dead insects and animal carcasses. The adult beetle feed on pollen which assists in pollination.

Bad: Black Carpet beetles lay their eggs in houses, the larvae will feed on wool, fur, hair, silk, clothes, fabrics, carpet and rugs, insulating material, stored foods like dried meat, seeds and grains.

The larvae of the of the Black carpet beetle are small hairy grubs whose hairs break off when handled and can cause an allergic reaction in some people. If allergic reaction occurs, seek medical attention.

Closely inspect carpeted areas beneath heavy furniture and along carpet edges for infestation. If live larvae are found, hygiene plays an important role. In the prevention of carpet beetle infestation, vacuuming and/or cleaning carpet or fabric properly is very important. It is important to clean carpet edges and areas where hair, dust, and other materials may build up.

Firstly, it is important to properly identify the beetle once infestation occurs as the larvae is most harmful to carpet and fabrics. Immediately and directly remove the carpet beetles by vacuuming them up.

There are a number of products on the market, make sure that the product lists carpet beetles on its label, and follow the directions on the label.

To seek professional advice or services, please see our “Pest Control Companies” section on the website.

Get to know the Variegated Beetle Anthrenus verbasci

Variegated Carpet Beetle
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  • There are a number of carpet beetle species in Australia with the common ones being the variegated and the black carpet beetle.
  • Larvae is 4-5mm long when fully developed in larvae stage.
  • The larvae are usually reddish-brown to dark brown in colour with stiff bristles over the body.
  • The beetle is 2-3 mm in length.
  • The Variegated carpet beetle is oval in shape and yellow, white and black in colour
  • Females will lay their eggs in a dark undisturbed area, where the larvae will eat and develop.
  • Eggs hatch between 14-28 days
  • Larvae feed up to 9 months, after which they pupate (pupal stage – metamorphosis is 14-21 days)
  • Adults live between 20-40 days.
  • The Variegated carpet beetle’s life cycle is 9-12 months.
  • The Variegated carpet beetle is found throughout Australia.
  • The beetle lives in urban areas, forests and woodlands.
  • The adult beetles eat flowers and live mostly outdoors.
  • The beetle may invade homes, whose larvae then feeds on carpet and similar fabrics.
  • As a result, treatment indoors is ineffective in the long term because the adult beetles easily re-enter and infest buildings with their larvae.
  • The most common way these beetles are entering homes is through cut flowers being brought in from the garden.

Good: The carpet beetle in its natural environment, forests and woodlands, are good and beneficial as the larvae feed on dead insects and animal carcasses. The adult beetle feed on pollen which assist in pollination.

Bad: The Variegated carpet beetles lay their eggs in houses, the larvae will feed on wool, fur, hair, silk, clothes, fabrics, carpet and rugs, insulating material, stored foods like dried meat, seeds and grains.

The larvae of the Variegated Carpet Beetle are small hairy grubs whose hairs break off when handled and can cause an allergic reaction in some people. If allergic reaction occurs, seek medical advice.

Closely inspect carpeted areas beneath heavy furniture and along carpet edges for infestation. If live larvae are found, hygiene plays an important role. In the prevention of carpet beetle infestation, vacuuming and/or cleaning carpet or fabric properly is very important. It is important to clean carpet edges and areas where hair, dust, and other materials may build up.

Firstly, it is important to properly identify the beetle once infestation occurs as the larvae is most harmful to carpet and fabrics. Immediately and directly remove the carpet beetles by vacuuming them up.

There are a number of products on the market, make sure that the product lists carpet beetles on its label, and follow the directions on the label.

To seek professional advice or services, please see our “Pest Control Companies” section on the website.