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Although the adult beetle can fly between trees they are natural hitchhikers and can go to other areas by cars, caravans and vehicles.

Anyone who owns an elm tree will know what beautiful and valuable trees they are. Often a feature in any garden, they are also planted widely in avenues and public gardens throughout temperate Australia

The elm leaf beetle Pyrrhalta (ELB) is a significant pest of elm trees. The beetle larvae can defoliate trees rapidly during the summer months, weakening the tree over time.

The beetle was first discovered in Australia, in 1989 on the Mornington peninsula, it is now established in Melbourne, extending well into Gippsland. More recently it was discovered in Geelong, Benalla, Mansfield, Launceston, Bendigo and Albury. It is anticipated the elm leaf beetle will eventually spread to all parts Australia where elms are grown.

Will elm leaf beetle kill my tree?
The elm leaf beetle will never be eradicated from Australia, however, control measures are available which will reduce the beetle numbers and prevent serious damage. There is no reason for a well managed elm to be lost due to elm leaf beetle. The elm leaf beetle is sometimes confused with Dutch elm disease but is not nearly as serious, unless of course it’s ignored.

Elm leaf beetle, why is it a threat?
The elm leaf beetle has the potential to cause severe defoliation of susceptible elms, which can weaken mature trees and reduce their aesthetic and amenity value.
Elem leaf beetles commonly over winter in and around buildings and can be cause a nuisance when emerging inside buildings in large numbers during spring.

Which elms are affected?
Most of the European species planted in Australian streets, parks and gardens are susceptible to the elm leaf beetle. Asian species of it are relatively resistant to the elm leaf beetle.

What do I look for?
In late summer damaged foliage becomes obvious as adult beetles and larvae feed voraciously on leaves. Look for small holes in the leaves called “shot-holes’ are caused by the adult elm leaf beetle. The beetle itself is about 6mm long, oval shaped with characteristic black and yellow (sometimes olive) stripes.

Treatment options

Soil injection
The insecticide Confidor is injected around the root zone of the tree where it is taken up by the roots and translocated to the foliage. This is a safe and effective method of treating large trees and can protect them for more than two years. The best time to treat is September to November.