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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Green Metallic June Beetle Flying Now

Q. We have a black mission fig tree and there is a large green bug that is eating the figs.  At first I thought the birds were eating the figs so I covered the tree with netting.  However, when I checked the tree today, I saw 4 or 5 large green bugs inside the netting eating the figs.  See the attached picture of one of the bugs.  What are these bugs, and how can they be controlled?  They are eating the figs right before the figs are ready to pick.  Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Green metallic June beetle

A. This can happen every single year on figs. This pest is the green metallic June beetle and they seem to love white figs more than dark figs. The immature form or larva of this beetle is the white grub we see eating the roots of plants like lantana and in compost piles feeding on decaying plant life. Here they are feasting on Kadota fig at the University Orchard when I was there. The larva feed on anything below ground soft that is living or recently dead.

Green metallic June beetle on Kadota fig

They will eat any soft fruit not just figs. They will go after ripe peaches or nectarines left on the tree if they are soft. The key is they must be soft fruit or they can't eat them. Peaches you can pick them a little early and let them soften and ripen in the kitchen. You can't do that with figs. They must be picked fully ripe so this is a problem with this fruit and this insect.

This insect emerges over a period of a two or three weeks during the summer and then it is gone. You can wait it out or protect the fruit with a barrier of some sort. This could be bird netting or paper bags but I realize this sounds like a lot of work to protect them for two or three weeks. I usually just let them have them during this time period. It is not worth spraying anything.

By the way, they love the sound of line trimmers and if you hold one up in the air they will fly a suicide mission directly into the ripping, flying fishing line. Disgusting.

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