On hot summer nights, if you leave a light on, you may find these Christmas beetles glowing just like seasonal decorations.
Christmas Beetles are large, yellow, green, pink, or metallic brown, and up to 3cm in length. They arrive in large numbers each year around Christmas time and disappear soon after. There are around 35 different types of Christmas beetle found in Australia. They belong to the Scarab beetle family and are the second largest family of beetles in Australia, with Weevils being the largest.
Where are they for the rest of the year?
They spend most of their beetle life underground in their larval stage eating decaying organic matter, plant roots, and vegetation. They keep grass well-nourished and mulch gardens regularly.
Christmas Beetles will wait until conditions are ideal before emerging as an adult. Once emerged, they will survive for close to ten weeks in which they search for a mate, food source, and then a safe haven for their eggs.
What are they attracted to?
These colourful and glossy Christmas beetles are attracted to bright lights. Adult beetles feed on eucalypt leaves, usually right at the top of the trees. When in large numbers it appears they are undergoing a defoliation exercise.
Our Backyard Buddies
They’re beautiful and fascinating to watch. The further north you travel in Australia, you may spot opal variations and powerful punchy colours such as violet.
You can be a buddy to Christmas Beetles by growing native eucalypts, keeping your lawn healthy using native grasses, and protect local woodlands to provide a variety of food sources for them, as well as places to lay their eggs. Avoid giving your garden too much water over the winter period, as waterlogged gardens can impact larvae growth.
Should they be controlled?
Christmas Beetles are seldom a problem in the home garden. They are controlled naturally by native animals such as magpies, predatory wasps, and possums. Spraying is not recommended for these friendly creatures. They are seasonal creatures and won’t be around for long.
These beetles are quite gentle and placid, especially after a big night out and are the ideal insect to introduce to children. They are not the most coordinated critters and are noisy fliers. If they do land on you, it’s a great opportunity to take a closer look at their beautiful colours.
If they overstay their welcome, simply turn off your outside lights or close your blinds and they will soon get the hint.