Rosemary leaf beetle

25th October 2009, Sunday

This beautiful little beetle, 7 mm long, was on my moth trap in Rye yesterday. It’s a Rosemary leaf beetle (Chrysolina americana) which, despite the scientific name, is native to southern Europe, north Africa and the Middle East. After the first outdoor UK report in Surrey in 1994 it spread rapidly in the London area and into Essex, then into East Anglia and in just the last two years very quickly into Kent and Sussex. Although the larvae are usually considered a pest on rosemary, lavender, thyme, sage, etc., as with all such designations there’s some doubt about how serious the threat may be, and in southern Europe the herbs and the beetles seem to coexist without major problems. The RHS ask for all sightings to be reported – see http://www.rhs.org.uk/Science/Plant-pests/Rosemary-beetle

http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk/pdfdocs/Lavender/Andrew%20Salisbury.pdf (with distribution maps)

http://www.essexfieldclub.org.uk/portal/p/Rosemary%20Beetle