All down the east coast of Australia, gardeners with lilly pilly hedges have been noticing lots of chewed and damaged foliage. While it used to be pimple psyllid that most affected lilly pillies, causing those ugly pimply bumps all over the leaves followed by lots of sooty mould, there’s now a relatively new insect pest that’s doing as much, if not more, damage on Syzygium australe and its cultivars – a native green leaf-eating beetle called Paropsides calypso**.
An infestation of Paropsides calypso leaf-eating beetles can give a healthy, dense-foliaged lilly pilly a sparse, lacy thread-bare look in the space of just a few weeks.
I talk with Steve Falcioni of OCP about how to recognise Paropsides calypso beetle damage on your lilly pilly, about the beetle’s life cycle (both the larvae and the adult beetle eat lilly pilly leaves), and get some advice on how you could control it.
**Note that this leaf beetle been incorrectly identified elsewhere as Calomela pallida, the green strip leaf beetle.