Scary Scarab Beetle and Your Garden

 In Blog, Homeowner Tips, Pest Identification
A male scarab beetle (Oxysternon conspicillatum).

A male scarab beetle (Oxysternon conspicillatum). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Stout in stature and colorful in appearance, scarab beetles come in more than 30,000 different varieties. While some scarab beetles are known to help recycle dung, others, such as the Japanese beetle, can pose serious threats to crops and gardens. The larvae of scarabs are never exposed to sunlight, and often attack the roots of turf grass and ornamental plants, causing them to wilt. Fortunately if scarab beetles invade your garden there are effective methods of controlling these pests. 

Scarab Beetle Signs

Nocturnal and always on the prowl, scarab beetles are anything but friendly. Although they aren’t particularly aggressive towards humans, they have a sneaky habit of destroying plants, including flowers, turf grass, and even food vegetation.

Damage to ornamental plants is a common signs of scarab damage. Plant wilting and drooping specifically are signals that an ornamental has been affected by scarab beetles. These bugs can also tunnel their way underneath turf grass, causing irregular patches of grass to dry out and die. Such turf grass will often feel spongy and can be rolled back easily, clearly demonstrating the fact that scarab beetles have worked their way into the ground underneath.


Control Measures for Scarab Beetles

The most common method for controlling scarab is the use of specific extermination chemicals, yet the EPA recently declared that the use of these chemicals is harmful for the environment. Instead, the EPA recommends the use of a chemical preservative, one that alters the taste of the roots and makes them unappetizing to scarab beetles. This chemical also does not cause the same damage to the environment, and does not seem to affect other insects within the soil.

Milky spore disease and nematodes can also be released into the soil to discourage and destroy scarab beetles. Most insect control companies can recommend the best control measure to take for your specific circumstances. Always consult a professional insect control company before releasing any pesticide or insecticide in your lawn or garden bed to make sure you are not endangering other plants or beneficial insects.


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