Eucalyptus leaf beetle

Paropsisterna beata

Eucalyptus leaf beetle

Eucalyptus leaf beetle

Legal Status: Unwanted Organism - MPI
Status in New Zealand: Controlled
Organism: Insects, worms and other land invertebrates

Description

Adult eucalyptus leaf beetles are dark brown or black with large red spots. The beetle is about 1cm in length. Larvae are about 0.4 to 0.8cm long, yellow and brown with long black hairs.

Eucalyptus Leaf Beetle Larvae
Eucalyptus Leaf Beetle Larvae

Impact

Native to Australia, the eucalyptus leaf beetle feeds on eucalyptus leaves. Although the biosecurity risk is unknown at this time, it is possible, based on information from incursions of other insects, that the eucalyptus leaf beetle could become a serious pest on Eucalypts in New Zealand if it becomes widespread and established.

Incursions in New Zealand

The beetle was first detected in a stand of Eucalyptus trees in Whitemans Valley, Upper Hutt in late 2012. The beetle only feeds on Eucalyptus tree species.

Surveillance of the surrounding area showed the beetles had not spread from the small site where they were originally detected. Hence there was a good opportunity for MPI to eradicate the eucalyptus leaf beetle from New Zealand.

MPI undertook several rounds of aerial and ground spraying operations in 2013. This involved spraying the trees by helicopter and treating the ground underneath the affected trees.The insecticides used contained synthetic pyrethroids.

Operations so far have reduced the number of beetles. No beetles were found in the area and its surrounding during a recent surveillance in December 2013.  

MPI has scheduled one further round of aerial and ground spraying after 24 February 2014 as and when the weather permits. This will be followed by surveillance to confirm eradication has been achieved.

MPI would like to acknowledge the support and cooperation from residents in Whitemans Valley.

Resources

Page last updated: 10 March 2014