Do you battle to pick your fruits before the fig beetles gain to them? Summer brings the end these pests in abundance, but there room non-toxic and also natural ways you can control them there is no resorting come harmful chemicals in your garden.

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I like to speak to them the “bumbling pilots of the garden,” and every summer, those loud, buzzy, clumsy fig beetles are quite an amusing sight to see.

If they’re not, ahem, getting under to business, they’re firmly planted on fruit trees, suck the juice the not just their namesake figs, however other soft-skinned, rotting fruits choose peaches, plums, apricots, grapes, berries, and also cactus fruits.

Fig beetles aren’t devastating to the garden the method other pests are; they won’t spread out diseases, kill your trees, or attract more pests.

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In fact, take into consideration yourself lucky if fig beetles room the level of your pest problems! Some people welcome them as harbingers of heat summer days and also garden bounties to come.

But, they have the right to actually lessen her garden bounty and also be a nuisance if they’re feeding on your crop prior to you get around to harvesting it.

I provided to battle figeater beetles in mine garden every summer till I learned a few simple tip to eliminate fig beetles organically and also keep their populations in check. I’ll present you how!

What is a fig beetle?

Fig beetles (Cotinis mutabilis, additionally known as figeater beetles or green fruit beetles) are members that the scarab beetle family.

They’re quickly recognizable by their beautifully distinctive coloration. Fig beetles room metallic dark green on optimal with a tan-colored band edging your forewings (known as elytra), and also have iridescent environment-friendly legs and also undersides.

Adult fig beetles room relatively big as far as insects go, and also vary from 3/4 inch to 1 1/2 customs long.

Fig beetles have one generation per year, though they have the right to remain in the soil for increase to 2 years. The larvae arise from the egg in fall and overwinter in mulch, compost, manure, or any kind of decaying heap of necessary materials.

The larvae, or “crawly backs,” look like curled up, creamy white grubs and don’t do any damage to lawns or gardens, together they exclusively feed top top organic issue in the soil.

They are wonderful decomposers that help your compost failure more quickly, and also are right up there with soil fungi and also bacteria as crucial “recyclers” in the ecosystem.

In spring, the second larval stage begins. After ~ metamorphosis, the grubs arise as winged adults in summer. This is as soon as fig beetles are many active, as they fly in low, lazy circles around the yard, in search of mates and also feeding on fruits.

Their mouths room actually really weak, making castle ineffective in ~ chewing on most plant materials. They always seek out overripe fruit that have split, or fruit that have currently been damaged by various other insects, birds, or squirrels, particularly those v thin skins and extra soft flesh.

Fig beetles room most active in the middle of the day, and also you’ll normally hear them comes (or, more like dive bombing!) before you have the right to see them.

They make bumblebee-like buzzing sounds as they fly. This sounds come from their elytra (hardened forewings, similar to those uncovered on ladybugs), which are partially closed in flight and only proper raised during takeoff.

Contrary to popular belief, figeater beetles are not blind. Due to the way they function, their partially open elytra renders them notoriously slow and also drunk-like as they navigate the air. It’s not uncommon to watch fig beetles crashing into walls, trees, and even people when castle fly!

Though it’s rather of a shock the an initial time the happens, colliding v a fig beetle is no reason for alarm — they’re as gentle as deserve to be and do not bite or attack.

Where space fig beetles commonly found?

Fig beetles are indigenous to the southwestern joined States and Mexico. Originally, lock were limited to Arizona, brand-new Mexico, Texas, and also Northern Mexico, yet by the 1960s they’d boosted their range and began appearing in seaside Southern California.

Today, your populations expand farther increase the coastline of main California and also into the central Valley.

It’s thought that fig beetles have increased together with the spread out of home gardens, which offer wealth of food because that adult beetles, and also compost and mulch piles the feed and also shelter beetle larvae.

Fig beetle look-alikes

Fig beetles are frequently mistaken for Japanese beetles (Popillia japonica) or eco-friendly June beetles (Cotinis nitida, also known as June bugs).

This June beetle (Cotinis nitida) is a fig beetle lookalike. Image: Wikimedia Commons.While they may look similar, Japanese beetles and June beetles space slightly smaller, have actually a browner, much more coppery appearance, and are only discovered in the southern and eastern United claims from Texas to brand-new York.

How to control fig beetles naturally

Fig beetles can be annoying, but they’re i can not qualify to do any far-ranging damage in the garden.

If you want to remove fig beetles naturally, the vital is to take preventative measures first, together chemical controls often don’t work on them, and agricultural resources (like college of California’s integrated Pest monitoring program) don’t recommend utilizing them.

(You likewise don’t want to be spraying your ripe fruits with anything right before you pick them.)

Fig beetles are energetic from July v September once food sources are at their peak, for this reason start at an early stage if you want to control them many effectively.

1. Regulate during the larval stage.

To alleviate fig beetle populations in the summer, regulate them when they’re most fragile in the larval stage.

Since the grubs live in and also thrive on disk matter, rotate over any piles of mulch, compost, leaf litter, grass clippings, and also animal manure commonly in spring.

These products (their favorite reproduction grounds) carry out food and also shelter for the grubs. By gift exposed, they’re likely to it is in swooped up by birds, skunks, opossums, raccoons, and also other predators (while hope sparing the rest of her garden from this foragers as well).

Image: Wikimedia Commons

2. Eliminate their food sources.

Fig beetles room attracted come soft, mushy, damaged fruit, so pick all your fruits as shortly as they ripen, remove any type of that have been nibbled ~ above by other pests, and also don’t let numerous fruit rot top top the ground.

Leaving a juicy, dripping fig (or any type of other fruit) top top a branch is simply an invitation for clusters of figeater beetles come descend on her tree and feed every day, living approximately their name.

In height season, shot to do a habit the picking her fruit daily. This will keep fig beetles the end of your garden and leave more fruits because that you come enjoy.

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3. Usage physical barriers on her fruit trees and also shrubs.

If you can not get around to harvest your fruits as often as girlfriend should, think about covering your trees and also shrubs through a physical obstacle (like this lightweight floating row cover or this insect netting), i beg your pardon will keep fig beetles, birds, and also other pests off your fruits.

Remember that any barrier will additionally prevent pollinators from reaching the flowers, so place the spanning just prior to the fruits start to mature.

4. Hand-pick fig beetles together you discover them.

To get rid of fig beetles the old-fashioned way, hand-pick each one and also drop it into a bucket the soapy water. Dish soap works fine for this, and it doesn’t take much to kill them (a few squirts is all you need).

Once did you do it drowned all the fig beetles, dump them right into your compost pile.

If there room multiple fig beetles swarming a solitary piece the fruit, location a mason jug underneath and snip the fruit off the branch. (Sometimes okay sacrifice a item of fruit this means in stimulate to trap fig beetles an ext effectively.)

The fig beetles (and fruit) will autumn into the jar, and also you can conveniently dump them out into a bucket of soapy water native there.

5. Make a bottle trap to attract fig beetles.

You deserve to DIY a simple bottle trap to attract and catch fig beetles in your garden.

There are plenty of variations the homemade bottle traps, but the easiest one to make only requires a soda bottle and also some bait.

Remove the cap and cut the peak 4 to 5 inch (right over the label) off a 2-liter plastic soda bottle. Invert the top and place it inside the bottle like a funnel. If needed, tape the two sections with each other (though they should fit snugly).

Bait the trap v a 1:1 mixture that fruit juice (grape or apple) and water. To water a few inches that this mixture into the bottle, and also hang a catch on every tree that’s affected. (If there’s a really poor infestation, hang two or 3 traps per tree.)

I use a heavy-duty hole punch and twine to cave my trap, however you can likewise poke holes into the plastic utilizing a nail and also then thread a piece of string v them.

Fig beetles will certainly be attractive to the sweet liquid and land in the funnel. Once inside, they’ll be can not to escape. You have the right to dump the beetles right into a bucket that soapy water come drown them, climate reassemble and re-bait the party trap together needed.

6. Feed them to her chickens.

If girlfriend raise backyard chickens, fig beetles space a dream act come true because that them! you can record several fig beetles utilizing the jar technique mentioned above, climate toss lock out into the chicken operation for your flock.

Read more: Fig Beetles: Bumbling Pilots the the Garden

If her chickens choose to forage roughly your fruit trees, you can additionally bat the fig beetles under to the ground with your hand and also let your women chase after and also enjoy them.

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Chickens additionally make excellent compost turners, so in spring, permit them peck and scratch through your mulch and also compost heap because that grubs. Girlfriend nip the trouble in the bud early, and your chickens space well-fed and also happy. Win-win!

This short article updated indigenous an short article that originally appeared on September 5, 2019.