A close-up image of a Palo Verde Beetle

Is the Palo Verde Beetle Dangerous?

What Is The Palo Verde Beetle?

The Palo Verde Beetle, also known as the Palo Verde Root Borer Beetle, is a large beetle found throughout the East Valley. Black in color, they have spiny legs and long antennae. They can range in length from about an inch to several inches, and they are located throughout the southwest portion of the United States (including, of course, Arizona). They are large enough that, when they come out of the ground, they leave about a 1″-1 1/2″ sized hole behind. (So don’t confuse them with gopher holes…just kidding!)

Baby Palo Verde beetles are called “grubs”, and they feed on old tree roots. However, usually only trees made vulnerable by illness or poor care are susceptible to damage from them. They will bore into and feed on tree roots for approximately 3-4 years. After that time, they will become full-grown beetles and surface to find a mate.

Palo Verde beetles are very active at night, and are difficult to kill. Fortunately, there isn’t much need to kill them. They pose virtually no threat, and their cycle of activity each year spans only a few months.

Why Are Palo Verde Beetles So Active This Time Of Year?

Why, to mate, of course! They begin to emerge around the first of July and become increasingly more prevailant throughout August and September. They usually die shortly after mating, and their populations eventually start to decline when fall season comes around.

Are Palo Verde Beetles Dangerous

They are generally harmless to humans, but they can be quite a nuisance. Their large size makes them appear very frightening. The fact that they can fly makes them appear even more threatening! They aren’t graceful flyers either – they usually land with an audible thud. Just be careful if you decide to pick one up. You could end up with a painful but non-poisonous bite.

For more information than you could ever hope for about this fascinating beetle, check out this article by the University of Arizona or this blog by a beetle enthusiast!

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