Red-Shouldered Leaf Beetle: Their Control and Prevention

Red-shouldered leaf beetle are insects with body length of approximately 6 to 8mm. It has a golden yellow body with red shoulders accompanied by a single red spot on its wing cover. It is a pest that feeds on crops like sugarcane, cotton, mango, longan, legumes, macadamia, strawberry, and soybeans. Learn more about this pest and be armed with the best defenses against it.


Areas Commonly Affected by the Red-Shouldered Leaf Beetle

Regions easily affected by the infestation of the red-shouldered leaf beetle in Australia include the Northern Territory, Queensland, and Northern NSW. The larvae easily attacks the roots of the above mentioned plants while the adult beetle attack orchards in swarms that caused immediate damage to the plants in just two to three hours.


Prevention and Control of the Red-Shouldered Leaf Beetle

One of the primary things to be done to combat this pest is to learn enough knowledge about its life cycle. You must be aware that its life cycle takes two months to complete and it usually happens during the summer regions. Adults commonly lay eggs after a good rain, so it is best to check your garden quite often after experiencing a heavy down pour in your region.


When you are aware of the life cycle of the red-shouldered leaf beetle, then you may go and inspect your garden at regular intervals. Immediately check the flowers of your plants and see if there is unwanted damage done on it. If you see swarms of beetles lingering in a tree, then it is most likely that other trees are also affected. When this happens, the next best thing to do is to perform spraying on these. However, there are also alternative methods to combat this:


The Cultural Method

Using yellow sticky traps on the boundary of trees will immediately warn you of unwanted insects entering your garden. Moreover, planting Eucalyptus torelliana in your gardenwould also be helpful, as it would act as a windbreak for your trees. This tree has been very attractive to these beetles and it would immediately be the apple of their eyes giving you a warning of their existence in your garden.


Chemical Spray Method

Since this pest is hard to control, especially if your garden has been unfortunately positioned in their regular migration route, your only other option is to spray effective chemical spray on your affected plants. Many recommend the use of Pyrethrum or Aza-max. Nevertheless, for safety purposes most would use Entrust, which is a biological agent that may not be as fast acting as pyrethrum but would most definitely keep your garden safe from unwanted side effects due to pesticide spray.


Be vigilant in guarding your plants and garden because it could be your only defense against the red-shouldered leaf beetle. However, be cautious with your use of pesticides. 

Read labels carefully and consult a specialists if required. 


It may be more beneficial to use biological agents to avoid disrupting the natural cycle of good insects in your garden; otherwise, continuous education on the possible plants to plant simultaneously in your garden would also be wise.

Organic, Natural Solution to treat Red-Shouldered Leaf Beetle