What are the brown beetles on our strawberries?

Q.

Hi I just noticed our strawberry plant leaves have a large number of small brown beetles doing some damage to the leaves mostly (photos attached). What are they and how do I best deal to them? Thank you.

John Adams

A.

Hi John, these are likely bronze beetles (3-4mm), at the moment grass grub beetles (8-10mm) are also active but they are much larger than the bronze beetle, they are most active in November, December when temperatures warm up. They move in quickly, feeding on leaves and move on just as quickly as they arrived, generally they don't damage fruit, but they will reduce plant vigour. Bronze beetle are difficult to control because of their hard shell so are best controlled at the grub stage when they emerge from the soil, try neem granules or diatomaceous earth, a silica based natural product that is like walking over cut glass for grubs and beetles, your garden centre may be able to recommend other soil insect control products that are suitable. A synthetic pyrethrum contact spray may be effective, as is hosing off with water, going out at night with a torch and a bucket of water, feed them to the chooks or dispose of in the rubbish. They are attracted to lights, turn off solar lights or outside lights near the garden in spring. Cultivate the soil around your plants to disturb the soil, they lay eggs into firm soil so less chance if the soil is cultivated, place mulch around your plants may also deter the bronze beetle. Treat your lawn for grubs in late winter, early spring as this will capture any emerging grubs. Lianne. 

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