Be aware of the Christmas/Brown Beetle

Christmas beetles are seasonal and are generally active during the warmer months, especially during the festive season. A sure sign that it is officially summer, is when the Christmas beetle is in sight. This centimetre long, brown, nocturnal insect is harmless to humans. However, they enjoy lacing the leaves of roses, Dahlias and other flowers.

Identification

Christmas beetles have a vibrant brown colour with the larvae white and C-shaped, similar to those of flower chafers and stag beetles. The adults emerge close to the Christmas period.

Signs/ Symptoms

By the time you see the Christmas beetles, they are at the end of their life cycle. They love to feed on rose and tree leaves (especially eucalyptus), leaving a zigzag cut in their midst, shredding them as they go on their feeding frenzy. The adults lay 20 -30 egg during November to January preferably in compost heaps or well-composted beds. The larvae live in the soil for almost a year feeding on decaying organic matter and plant roots.

What does this mean for me/ my plants?

Christmas beetles feed on most plants and are a serious threat to your garden.

Suggested Action
An organic pest control method to deter beetles from chewing on your plants place a lamp near your garden bed with a bucket of oily water underneath the lamp. The switched-on lamp will attract the beetles away from the plants, and towards to light, they will then drop into the water below.

Alternatively, place a bug zapper close to the garden bed. You can also treat your compost, soil with a dusting powder which can be watered into the ground.

Visit your local GCA Garden Centre for the best expert advice on which products to use to get rid of this pest. Click here for more gardening tips and trends or join the conversation on our Facebook page.

 

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