How To Control Figeater Beetle Infestations

The figeater beetle (Cotinis mutabilis) with common names ‘green fruit beetles’ or ‘fig beetles’ are a Southwestern United States species. 

They have distinctive color patterns, are big in size, and are famous for their loud buzzing sound. 

Figeater Beetle or Green Fruit Beetles

Hailed from the Scarabaeidae family – subfamily Cetoniinae, these beetles (Coleoptera) have gorgeous, metallic iridescent green bodies.

Not to be confused with Japanese beetle – Popillia japonica or green June beetles (Cotinis nitida), a scarab beetle has a scarab-shaped body with prominent antennae and legs. 

They breed on desert tree’s sap, cacti fruits, flower petals and usually attack peaches, apricots, plums, and its namesake figs. 

An adult fig beetle can fly long distances and are attracted to the odors of:

  • Fermentation
  • Manure
  • Ripe fruits 

If you have ripe or even overripe fruits in your late summer garden, you face the problem of figeater beetle infestation. 

However, dealing with these metallic green beetles is not so challenging.

What Is The Pest Or Condition?

To understand the infestation of the fig beetle, it is essential to have a look at its life cycle of this metallic green beetle. 

Even though they have one generation per year, figeater can remain in the soil for up to two years. 

During the period between fall and winter, adults mate and females lay eggs in mulch or under compost piles or the pile of any organic material. 

While the eggs hatch within a week, the larvae pupate and mature in soil particles’ cells during spring. 

Adult green fig beetles roam around between early fall and late spring.  

The larvae, also called crawly back, are not responsible for causing any damage in the garden. 

Bearing resemblance to creamy white curled up grubs, the larvae mostly feed on organic matter. 

They are also good decomposers and break down your compost quickly. 

It is during spring, and especially when the second larval stage starts, when these grubs metamorphosize into adult figeater beetles and start wreaking havoc in gardens.

What Damage Does It Cause?

Figeater beetles mostly thrive on ripe or overripe fruits. 

They have weak mouthparts making it difficult for them to open other plant material. 

They can only chew on soft things and this is exactly why they enjoy eating fruits such as plums, apricots, or figs. 

Most of the time, they eat the fruit which is already damaged by some other insect. 

Only adult beetles can chew fruit, the larvae don’t damage the food and thrive on mulch and manure piles.

How To Control The Pest Or Condition?

These iridescent green figeater beetles are not really considered a pest. 

  • This is because they are not as harmful to the garden as other pests are. 
  • They are not capable of spreading diseases or attracting more pests. 
  • In fact, they don’t even kill your trees. 

The reason why these insects are a nuisance is their attack on the produce of your fruit trees, especially when you haven’t started harvesting it. 

And while they won’t cause much economic damage, they are fairly annoying. 

The best way to deal with this member of the scarab beetle family is to take preventive measures as chemical controls usually don’t work on them. 

In addition, the use of the pesticide directly on the ripe fruits is not recommended by agricultural experts. 

During The Larval Stage

As compared to controlling the army of adult beetles, dealing with the green flying bug larvae is both easy and effective. 

Since the larvae live in composting or manure piles, mulch, or leaf litter, remove these organic layers serving as the source of food for the larvae. 

If you turn over compost piles, you will expose them to other predators such as birds. 

However, when doing this, keep in mind the benefits of the beetle larvae. 

Essential for your garden soil, they break down the organic matter quickly and efficiently.

Remove The Food Source

Just like you have done to the beetle larvae, remove the food source by picking the ripe fruits as soon as they reach the stage of ripeness. 

This seemingly overwhelming way is an easy way to keep the figeater beetles away from your garden.

Hand-Picking Beetles

If the population of the adult beetles is small, consider handpicking them to get rid of them. 

If you are raising backyard chicken, use them as a treat for your pets. 

And since chickens love to look for food around fruit trees, overturn the compost piles to let your chickens chase after them and enjoy a satisfying meal.

Make A Sweet Trap

Taking advantage of the beetles’ attraction to all things sweet, you may capture them by using a trap. 

  • In a 1-gallon container, mix equal parts of water and fruit juice. 
  • In the container opening, insert a funnel of wire mesh. 

This sweet-smelling bait will attract the beetle who will be trapped in the container with blocked exits.