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Palo Verde Beetles – Scary but not Dangerous

Palo Verde beetles are often the cause for a shriek due to their appearance and their menacing looking pincher mandable.  But the truth is these beetles, which are also known as Palo Verde root borer (scientific name: Derobrachus geminatus), are harmless. These beetles do not sting and won’t pinch unless bothered or provoked.

Facts About Palo Verde Beetles

These beetles belong to the beetle family known as Cerambycidae, which are longhorn beetles. Almost all of the types of beetles belonging to this group have distinguishing long antennae.

The larva are creamy white in color, while adult Polo Verde beetles are often mistaken for large cockroaches. Adult beetles have long antennae and spines on their thorax. They have wings and they can fly. They are colored brown or black. The larvae (also called grubs) reach up to 5 inches long while adult beetles can grow up to 3 1/5 inches long.

They don’t just live in native trees, they can also be found in rose and olive plants, and Mexican Palo Verde trees. Females normally lay their eggs into the soil near tree roots. Once these eggs are hatched, the larva will bore into the roots of the trees and begin to feed on them. Adult males fly about in search of mates.  
They are commonly seen living in the Phoenix and Tucson areas in Arizona.

Grubs eat the woody tissue of the root of trees. Adults beetles feed on the nectar of flowers or even fruits.

Life Span
Grubs would live in trees for about 3 to 4 years before they become adults. On the other hand, adult beetles actually die as soon as after mating, thus making their life span to only just one moth.

Additional Facts
Did you know that different species of beetles make up approximately 1/3 of all described animal species?
During the summer months when adult beetles are seen flying, motorcycle riders tend to drive more carefully. They also need to put the face shield down of their helmets. It is quite painful to be hit by big flying beetles in the face.

Palo Verde beetles were named after the Palo Verde tree, which is a beautiful desert tree with green bark. The Palo Verde tree is native to the Sonoran Desert. People say that if you dig up these trees, you are supposed to find several larvae eating away the tree roots. These beetles are often considered as pests.
They are Harmless
These beetles are large bugs. Adults can grow up to the size of your hand. They may startle you when you see one flying towards you.
They may give you a painful pinch, but they are not known to attack humans, only when they are bothered – these are peaceful creatures. These beetles are not toxic to humans and animals, and other living things. They are in fact good for your plants since they feed on nectar and fruit.
So, the next time you see these beetles, it is best to just let them be.

How to Get Rid of Palo Verde Beetles
These bugs come in droves every summer during the monsoon season, also their mating season. They are usually active in the early evening. You’ll find them in the Arizona desert between June and August. It is important that you are prepared for any eventuality.
Here are the steps on how to get rid of them:

  1. Look for these beetles in July, a time when they are most active in laying eggs. The key is to prevent them from laying eggs.
  2. Search around the base of tree trunks. You’ll find their eggs there.
  3. Pick them up by hand (make sure you are wearing heavy gloves). Keep in mind that these beetles have spikes and spines that could be sharp enough to cut into your bare skin.
  4. Simple place the beetles on the ground and crush them with your food, doing so will instantly kill these bugs. It is also important to wear closed-toe shoes with thick soles.
  5. Pour out insecticides on the exit holes. These holes could be found in the soil or around the base of the trees that are infected by these beetles. These exit holes simply indicate that the bugs have already left to search for new sources of food.

Professional exterminators recommend flushing out the areas where you found the eggs and adults to prevent new larvae from emerging.
Prevention – Almost the Most Important Step
While they may be harmless, they are still unwanted “guests”. The most important thing to do to is to look for Palo Verde trees near or around your house. If you to see a few of them, it technically means that they are using your home as their home.

If you have Palo Verde trees around or near your house, you need to start taking care of your plants and trees to make sure that the roots are not decomposing. You’ll also find these beetles in olive tress and rose bushes.

If you found the holes, do not attempt to spray the insides after the beetles have left. The best way to keep these bugs away from your home is to keep all the trees and plants around your home clean and healthy.

You’ll be surprised that they will simply fly away as fast as they came.

They may not cause you harm, but it can be annoying if these bugs are flying around you while you enjoy your cocktails in the patio. It would also be dangerous for motorcycle riders and those driving convertibles at high speeds. If you are riding a motorcycle, make sure to wear protective gear.

The best way to avoid them is to go to indoor restaurants and bars, stay away from parks starting at dusk, and generally minimize going out especially at night.

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