Even if you are acquainted with the Palo Verde beetle, it’s common to be surprised each year when they show up right on time for Arizona’s monsoon season.
In this blog on Palo Verde Beetles, we’ll cover the following:
- What are Palo Verde beetles?
- What attracts Palo Verde beetles?
- When do you see Palo Verde beetles?
- Can Palo Verde beetles harm humans?
- What happens if a Palo Verde beetle bites you?
- How do I get rid of Palo Verde beetles?
What are Palo Verde Beetles?
The Palo Verde beetle is also known as a root borer beetle or its Latin name, Deborachus hovorei. Regardless of what they are technically called, these imposing pests are giant, hard-shelled beetles that are unsettling to see flying about during monsoon season.
Palo Verde beetles are usually about 2-4 inches long when they are full-grown, and they range in color from brown to black. They have wings, long antennae, and spines on their thorax. Their diet consists of nectar and fruit, meaning you and your plants are most likely safe, but there are still some tricks to correctly dealing with these seasonal intimidators.
What Attracts Palo Verde Beetles?
- Bright Lights. Palo Verde beetles are attracted to bright lights at night. If you’re leaving porch lights or lamps on late into the evening, this is likely why you’re seeing Palo Verde beetles around your home.
- Trees and Flowers. Likewise, Palo Verde beetles gravitate toward sweet-smelling trees and flowers that provide fruit and nectar.
- Rotting Roots: Palo Verde beetles lay their eggs in rotting roots and will seek them out in order to do so.
When Do You See Palo Verde Beetles?
We mentioned that you see Palo Verde beetles in Arizona right on time for Monsoon, but when exactly is that time of year? Arizona’s “official” monsoon season starts on June 15th and lasts until September 30th. The coincidence of Palo Mesa Beetles appearing is that the change in weather draws them out of their shelters in the Palo Verde trees to find their mate.
After finding a mate, the adult beetles will lay eggs back in the tree roots of the Palo Verde trees, which will start the cycle all over again, and a new crop of them will be ready 2-3 years later. Once they hatch, the next group of small, cream-colored larvae make their way to the root system of the tree and begin to feed.
Can Palo Verde Beetles Harm Humans?
Palo Verde beetles have large, powerful pincers and certainly can use them to deliver a painful pinch if they are agitated and near you. However, for the most part, Palo Verde beetles are innocent and harmless.
Palo Verde beetles are not toxic to humans, and because they eat nectar and fruit, they are not looking to provoke or hurt any other creature. Though they will fly directly at humans and can be highly annoying, the most significant risk is the uncomfortable encounter you might have if they get close to you.
The best way to avoid having to touch a Palo Verde beetle is just to let it be and avoid them should they fly at you.
What Happens if a Palo Verde Beetle Bites You?
A bite from a Palo Verde beetle may cause slight pain and discomfort, but they aren’t poisonous and won’t cause serious harm. The chances of being bit by one are highly unlikely as they’re not aggressive and prefer to avoid humans.
How Do I Get Rid of Palo Verde Beetles?
Though there is not much you can do about Palo Verde beetles that happen to be flying at you from afar, there are ways you can try to prevent them from mating and rooting on your property. We recommend:
- Check for Palo Verde Trees Around Your Home: This is the first step to prevention, as the trees are their home. Removing the trees is an obvious measure of protection, but keeping the roots clean, watering, and fertilizing to maintain healthy trees is another way to remove the beetles.
- Turn Off Outside Lights: Adult Palo Verde beetles are attracted to bright lights at night, so to keep them from gravitating towards your porch and home, limit these lights during monsoon season.
- Get Professional Tree Trimming and Landscaping: An unconventional form of pest control with the perks of having good aesthetic effects on your home, professional landscaping will help keep your trees healthy and soil clean so that Palo Verde beetles don’t lay eggs in rotting roots.
- Prune Fruit Trees and Flowers on Your Property: Palo Verde beetles eat fruit and nectar, so limiting the attractive options for them can be a last-ditch effort to deter them.
There are few traditional DIY pest control measures to prevent Palo Verde beetle infestations. Pesticides placed in the holes they emerge from are too late, as they have already hatched and emerged at that point. If you see an increase in Palo Verde beetles and other pests, getting professional pest control services may be necessary.
Published On: December 17, 2021
Updated On: September 26, 2023