How to Manage Pests

Pests in Gardens and Landscapes

Leaf beetles

Several leaf beetle species occur in the U.S.; only a few are pests in landscapes. Most adults are less than 0.33 inch long, oval, blunt, and have threadlike antennae. The smallest species, flea beetles, are metallic and often jump when disturbed. Larger species may be colorful or blend in with their host and usually drop when disturbed.

Identification of species | Life cycle

Damage

Beetles scrape the surface or chew holes in leaves. Leaves discolor and may drop prematurely. High populations cover leaves with dark droppings and can skeletonize or defoliate entire plants. Plants can become susceptible to other problems and even die. Larvae may feed on roots but do not seriously damage established, woody plants.

Solutions

Provide proper cultural care to keep plants vigorous. Remove dead or dying branches. Consider replacing problem trees with resistant species. Insecticide treatments should not be required for leaf beetles on decidous trees, except occasionally the elm leaf beetle.

Elm leaf beetle adult, larva and eggs
Elm leaf beetle adult, larva and eggs

California willow leaf beetle and eggs
California willow leaf beetle and eggs


Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California

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