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Rosemary Beetle

A few weeks ago, we spotted a few of this iridescent bugs on our rosemary bush and some other nearby plants at the end of our garden. We tried looking them up in our bug book but didn’t find any clues as to their identity.

Yesterday, there were a lot more of them and the rosemary was clearly suffering damage so we decided to take action. I squished about a dozen; this one had a short photo session before joining his flat mates. I posted the pictures on Flickr and, within a short space of time had an identification back. These critters are rosemary beetles (Chrysolina americana) and, despite their beauty, definitely fall into the pest category.

Rob, the fellow Lewisham blogger who identified them, also provided a handy link to some further reading. The page from the RHS was particularly helpful. It turns out that these insects are a relatively recent visitor to British shores from Southern Europe but have become well established over the last decade. I reported our find to contribute to their data on the spread of these wee beasties.

It also turns out that, when not munching on rosemary, they like thyme, sage and russian sage (Perovskia), all of which are growing down at the same end of the garden. At least I know where to look for them!

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