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Imported Willow Leaf Beetle: The Black Beetles Turning Leaves Brown

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Attention willow tree parents! Have you noticed shiny black or blue beetles on your willow's leaves? Our experts have spotted imported willow leaf beetles in the Fort Mill, SC area. Read up on these beetles to figure out if you need to act.

What Are Those Small, Shiny Black Beetles on Your Willow Trees?Imported Willow Leaf Beetle graphic 2

Imported willow leaf beetles are oblong-shaped bugs that are about a quarter of an inch long. They're iridescent and can look black, blue, or even bluish-green. Their larvae can look dull gray, brown, or green. 

Imported willow leaf beetles are native to northern Europe (which explains the "imported" part of their name) and were first found in the U.S. in 1915.

These shiny black beetles like to spend their winters under loose bark or nestled beneath fallen leaves. In the spring, right as willow leaves start to develop, they re-emerge to mate and lay eggs on the undersides of leaves. It only takes a few days for those eggs to hatch, and that's when you may start to see damage to your willow leaves.

How to Spot Imported Willow Leaf Beetle Damage

Imported willow leaf beetles can cause defoliation - the loss of leaves on a plant, or in this case, your willow tree. That's because adults and larvae munch on willow leaves all summer. They eat the leaf tissue between the veins, making the leaves look skeletonized and turning them brown. 

Not a good look for your willows.

Imported Willow Leaf Beetle Damage

Are Those Shiny Beetles Bugging You?

Minor and infrequent defoliation won't harm your tree too much. You may find that this beetle's natural predators will take care of your problem for you.

It's repeated, extensive defoliation - especially on smaller or stressed trees - that becomes problematic. This type of defoliation can lead to stunted growth or even tree death in extreme cases.

Let the experts step in with tried-and-true insecticides.

We can treat your willows with basal bark sprays, soil-injections, or foliar sprays to control the imported willow leaf beetle population on your property.


Need a certified arborist to come out and look at your willow trees? Schedule a consultation today!

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