James R. Baker, Extension Entomologist Emeritus

CAUTION: This information was developed for North Carolina and may not apply to other areas.

General Information


Beetles are the most diverse of all the insects in North Carolina. There are over 3,300 different species. Adult beetles have hard front wings. Both the adults and grubs have chewing mouthparts and may feed on the same or different plants in the adult and grub stages. The following beetles are some of the common foliage feeding beetle pests of trees or shrubs:

  1. Cottonwood leaf beetle - willows
  2. Elm leaf beetle - most elms
  3. Fuller rose beetle - many shrubs
  4. Green June beetle - many shrubs & trees
  5. Imported willow leaf beetle - willows
  6. Japanese beetle - many hardwood trees
  7. Larger elm leaf beetle - elms, dogwood
  8. Willow leaf beetle - willows, poplars



A single, heavy attack by a beetle will seldom kill a healthy tree or shrub. Repeated defoliation's may kill plants or make them susceptible to other insects, diseases, severe cold weather, drought or other stress. Beetles can be managed by any one of the following insecticides. Various fruit tree spray mixtures are available and control beetle pests of fruit trees in the home grounds as well. These are only some of the products available.

Pesticide  (Trade Name) Formulation and Amount 
None of the following pesticides is labeled for all species of beetles. Read the label before purchasing an insecticide to make sure that it is appropriate for the pest.
bifenthrin  (Talstar) 10% wettable powder: 1 to 5 teaspoons per gallon of water
spinosad (Conserve) Good for elm and willow leaf beetles
*carbaryl (Sevin) 50% wettable powder: 2 tablespoons per gallon of water
*fluvalinate (Mavrik) 23% aquaeous flowable: 1/6 to 1/3 teaspoon per gallon of water
*imidacloprid (Merit) Labeled for use as foliar spray or soil drench for elm and viburnum leaf beetles. Japanese beetle.
57% emulsifiable concentrate: 1 tablespoon per gallon of water
25% wettable powder: 3 tablespoons per gallon of water
permethrin (Astro) 36.8 emulsifiable concentrate: 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon per gallon of water
*pyrethrins various follow label directions

Consult NC Chem. Manual for additional choices for your pest or plant.

* Suitable for home use.

Recommendations for the use of chemicals are included in this publication as a convenience to the reader. The use of brand names and any mention or listing of commercial products or services in this publication does not imply endorsement by the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service nor discrimination against similar products or services not mentioned. Individuals who use chemicals are responsible for ensuring that the intended use complies with current regulations and conforms to the product label. Be sure to obtain current information about usage and examine a current product label before applying any chemical. For assistance, contact an agent of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service in your county.

Other Resources

© 2001 NC Cooperative Extension Service
Prepared by: James R. Baker, Extension Entomologist Emeritus

August 1994 (Revised) January, 2002

Web page last reviewed January, 2011 by the webperson.