Paropsides calypso and lilly pillies

Almost 12 months on and I have an update on the beetles which are eating our lilly pilly plants. At the time of writing my previous post on this topic, I had thought maybe my hunting had had an impact on the beetle population because throughout January and February I only caught a couple of beetles and larvae.  I continued to fertilise the plants throughout this year, both with Seasol and a separate slow release fertiliser, and they started to thicken, particularly throughout April – May during autumn.

Now, with Melbourne in the middle of spring there is plenty of new growth on the trees and I was excited to think they would finally start to thicken. But then the new growth started to thin, and leaves were being eaten. The paropsides calyspo beetles had returned.

Paropsides calypso activity

It seems my efforts last year were not successful, and instead of being eradicated the beetles just weren’t active.  I suspect they laid eggs at the end of summer, and the eggs laid dormant until conditions were right for them to hatch and flourish.  It does, however, feel like I’ve had some success in the past few weeks which is why I’m writing this post to share my findings.

Last year when I was catching beetles, and now this year catching their larvae, I kept a count of the numbers I was seeing. Granted my activity would have impacted the overall population size, but I believe this gives a good indication of when they’re active. As you can see in the chart above, October in Melbourne seems to be the prime time for the larvae to hatch and move throughout the plant as they grow and develop into beetles.  One week in the middle of October I caught 180 larvae! Then throughout the rest of spring and then summer the beetles dominate. Last year the most I caught was 50 at the end of December. In January summer really kicks in, so perhaps the weather starts to become too hot for them and they cease to be active. According to BBEB | Bed Bug Treatment Options,  it is worth keeping these time frames in mind when trying to deal with this pest, as late September or early October is probably the best time to start treating the plant with pesticide.

Based on a comment by Ben on my previous post, two weeks ago I sprayed our plants with a combination of eco-neem and eco-oil.  These work by suppressing the insect’s urge to eat so they effectively starve to death. Eco-neem apparently works on the beetles, while eco-oil is more effective on caterpillars. I found these in the pest control section of Bunnings, and expect they would also be easy to find at any nursery. Having applied two coats, I’ve only seen 3-4 larvae and beetles since. Given the number of larvae I squashed, I think that will have had an impact on their numbers as well, but I’m hopeful this treatment will help to put an end to their reign over my plants. I’m going to continue this for the next few weeks with a combination of regular fertilising and hopefully by the end of spring the plants are happy and healthy.

Eco-neem and eco-oil which appear to be effective at controlling paropsides calypso

To help you locate these pests on your own plants, here are some things to keep in mind:


  • Larvae are pretty small, ranging from 1mm in length up to 1cm.
  • They’re normally light green, but as they mature they take on a redish tinge
  • They’re often found at the end of branches chewing on fresh growth (in particular the fine red growth)
  • You might also find them crawling along branches


  • The beetles are similar in size to a ladybird (7-8mm long and 3-4mm wide)
  • They’re bright green in colour
  • They are less likely to be contained to fresh growth, and quite happily chew through older leaves
  • They’re often on the underside of leaves and less like to be on branches as they can fly from leaf to leaf
  • Shaking branches can cause them to fall or fly out making it easier to find them and catch when they land

Here are a few photos so you can get an idea of what the beetles and larvae look like, as well as an indication of their size.

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Hi Derek, we have the little sods on our Orange Twist (similar to the lilly pilly). This is our second season with them attacking our shrubs. I have tried several Yates products but I haven’t found anything yet that kills them off completely. You are correct they nick off or take refuge in the winter months and come out in the warmer months – like now. I will try what you are doing and do a beetle hunt in the mornings. We have also noticed that there is also a grub we assume this is part of their larvae process.… Read more »


Sorry meant to mention that we live in Adelaide so the are not limited the Eastern Sea Board


Hi Derek, just came across your page, how are your lillypillys this year after the eco neem and eco oil combined spray. We’ve discovered black soft scale and this green beetle on our 14 lillypilly hedge which I was told by nursery it’s called Calypso Beetle and it only seems to attack lillypillys and nothing out there to rid of the beetle, It’s eating our leaves as well.. how much eco need and oil combined did you use please? We’ve sprayed confidor to rid of the scale.

alison guida

Hi Derek, I have had a terrible infestation of my 41 lilly pilly hedge. I was advised by the local nursery to try extra feeding and watering which I did without much effect. This year I have seen a few of the larvae but at this stage only 1 mature beatle. I have sprayed with eco neem but note that you use the eco neem and eco oil together which I will also do next spray. I also note that you had been doing this weekly?? Is there anything that can be done to kill off the eggs/larvae on the… Read more »

Kerri Gallagher

After 3 years of spending all my spare time tracking down and squashing thousands of beetles, larvae and eggs, I am reluctantly admitting defeat. The Lilly Pillies (11 in total spread throughout a large garden of mainly native plants) are getting the chop, Sadly I have no idea what I will replace them with, as at the time of planting they ticked all the boxes. Any suggestions welcome


Kerri, I have heard that Confidor is effective, although not really friendly to bees. With the onset of hot weather I am today noticing a marked increase in beetles and grubs and am coming to the same conclusion as you – I can beat them by hand!


I’m almost at that stage Kerri. My Lilly Pillys get more attention than the rest of the garden! I’m thinking of replacing with a photinia hedge – so I get the red new growth.


I went away for a week to find my “resilience” Lilly pilly munched all over (all that precious new growth) upon return. No sign of beetle on the weeping or high n mighty types though. I picked a lot of the beetles and grubs off but eco neemed them weekly pre dawn for 3 weeks and now they are covered with new growth and no sign of bad bugs! They still have a good mix of good bugs. While it might not be certified to work it certainly worked for me. A bit of blood and bone and they are… Read more »


Thanks for the advice – i’ll try more regular spraying. I shake the bushes vigorously and put the chickens underneath which they love. I also paid the kids $1 for 50 beetles caught but the novelty wore off quickly ?


I’ve also had terrible problems getting rid of these pests. I’ve found pyrethrum to be the only thing that really works, but unfortunately it kills every insect in sight, including bees. I’d not tried the eco-oil in combo with the neem so will give that a go. It seems the key is to get them under control as soon as they appear and the colony is small – otherwise you’re looking at weeks / months of treatment.

Carolyn Dean

Happy to say I am having success also with the Eco-Neem mixed with Eco-Oil. Although I had tried it in the past without success I have persevered this time and followed the instructions to repeat spray within 3 – 5 days and it’s definitely working,

Maggie Raymond

Hi Derek. I’m in Melbourne and these beetles are decimating my Lilly Pily hedge. Being mid February is it too late to treat?


Hi Derek, I live in Queensland (the Gold Coast) and a couple of months ago found my trees infested with both grubs and beetles. I followed the advice and sprayed a mix of eco and neem oil for a couple of weeks. The grubs soon disappeared but I kept finding beetles each night when I checked. Even if the spray was diminishing their appetite, maybe they kept hatching and I wasn’t able to get rid of them in entirety. So I gave up and resorted to trying Yates Baythroid (in the concentrate form- which is added to water and sprayed),… Read more »

Bernadette Prinsloo

Hi Derek, well I found these pesky guys on our 20 plus lily pilys at our new home in Yeppoon CQ. Thank goodness for your post! The local garden centre and Bunnings guys had never heard or seen them so maybe they have only just migrated to our beautiful seaside village! I shared your tips with them and purchased the Eco Oil and neem and will treat today. I’ve told hubby we will have to do regularly 3-5 days . I will keep you posted!


Hi all, now we are coming into the warmer months, I have a heap of new growth and no bugs in sight. 2 years ago I started with the eco neem/eco oil blend, went heavy that year, last year I used it sparingly, this year I haven’t used it at all and my lilli’s are doing wonderfully! Fingers crossed.


How are your trees going this year Derek? Did the neem oil mix stop an infestation this year? I’ve just tonight discovered these beetles chomping away at my hedge and am desperately trying to find a solution!


I’ve got these little terrors too. I had no idea what was eating my Lilly Pillies but our established trees were getting shredded and it only started 6 months ago. We’ve had no issues previously and the trees ave been in about 3 years. I used Yates ‘scale’ spray (yellow bottle). Just from Bunnings, and it kills them straight away! These bugs are not listed on the label but I’ve tried other things with no luck. Off one tree I would say about 200 bugs fell to the ground and that’s just the foliage I could easily access. I’ve just… Read more »


Thank you so much for all your info. It seems there is a lack of it across the net so I would have been really stuck especially being such a novice. I have just discovered these pests on my Lilly pillies, in Melbourne near the airport. Only my shorter trees seem to be getting eaten to pieces for now, I can see them just starting on my taller ones. Have only seen less than 10 beetles a day, and only a couple of larvae but surely theres more with how destroyed my trees are. Will be trying your spray mix… Read more »

Chris Harling

Chris here again, Ocean Grove, Vic, I still have beetles and it is now June. I think the cycle time is a little out as the lava were November to January then beetles since then. I am still endeavouring to reduce the beetle numbers after three years. My 24 Lilly Pilly still servive. Beat a Bug kills some, Fly spray also. Eco neem etc. Three years and I have tried all things. Do we have any new ideas. I read all your comments.


Hi Derek, thanks for your blog. I’m in Melbourne and have battled the calypso beetle and larvae since early last summer. I saw a youtube video about veggie gardening and the guy used a UV torch to easily spot caterpillars eating his lettuce at night. I bought a torch at BCF and used it on my lilly pillys and it worked well! You can find them much easier at night and squash them Previously I tried neem oil spraying but with little success.So i squashed hundreds of beetles/larvae over summer and since then about 3-4 beetles per week. I’ll try… Read more »

Lyn Cramer

I have had this Paropsides Calypso bug on my Lilly Pilly hedge for 18 months now and didn’t know what it was. Would Mavrik work. My hedge has new foliage but that is also being eaten. I am going to spray it with seasol but want to know what else to do this Lilly Pilly Hedge is 18 months old.

Anthony Francis

Hi Derek,

I tried Yates Baythroid. It seemed to have an instant effect as I saw the beetles fall dead almost immediately. Next morning found a number of beetles dead on the ground, could not see any live beetles or larvae on the leaves. Reviews on Bunnings and product review, also shows others have had success using Baythroid. I just hope I’ve killed off all the larvae. Thanks.

Last edited 3 years ago by Anthony Francis

Hi Anthony- what dilution did you use as the box has 3 different doses? Thanks


Hi Derek, we have come across your page late last year after planting 30 Lilly Pilly Backyard Bliss in our garden (June 2020). Subsequently, each and everyone of these trees have been decimated by this beetle. We have tried everything to no avail. We are going to be pulling them all out in the coming weeks and replacing them with Murraya’s. We are going to dig them out and wait a week before planting the new plants and in that time we will drench the soil with Eco-Neem to make sure there are none left in the soil. What I… Read more »


Hi Derek. We live in rural West Gippsland. The beetles have infested our syzygium australe Elite (over 100). I read with interest all the comments about using Neem and Eco oils and have just started a spraying regime. A mind numbingly huge job! We have also sprayed the soil around the trees. We will repeat this in spring before they re emerge from under ground. The little blighters (both larvae and beetles) are still munching the new growth even though it is now April. Interestingly the beetles do not seem to be interested in the smaller leafed lilly pillies like… Read more »


It’s been a while since you posted martine. How is your hedge? We have around 80 meters of the hedge. Has been smashed by the beetles and I have found in the past spraying with mavrik works. However this year they are back. I’m going to have to spray them again. I use a Stihl back pack mist sprayer.


HI, Chris. We decided to rip out the entire hedge a few years ago. A difficult and heart breaking decision, but necessary as the damage was so severe and we didn’t want to use any toxic treatments. Neem oil just didn’t make a difference for us and it was too massive a job to keep up. I have since planted a diverse range of shrubs and trees to attract native birds and insects. Everything is growing beautifully with not a green beetle in sight! Good luck with your hedge. It is a very difficult problem especially with such a large… Read more »


Happy to report. This is the third year facing this problem in Melbourne. All the new growth gone within a few weeks. Eco Neem and Eco Oil mixed equally works to a certain extent and has been my go-to in years prior. Last week I sprayed the trees with Baythroid Advanced from Bunnings. Spectacular results within hours. The beetles and their grubs fell to the ground by the end of the day in large numbers. Our resident noisy minors, our magpies and our resident ravens were having a feast day. My initial concern was not warranted as 3 days later, they… Read more »

Karen Serpell

Hi Derek This was the first year that I had experienced the green beetle in Melbourne and oh boy did it do a job on my hedges. Tried the Eco Neem and Eco Oil but it really didn’t help. Came across John’s suggestion and gave the Baythoid a try. Yes the bottle says that it can kill bees, but my hedges actually didn’t flower because the beetle had stopped all growth so I wasn’t too concerned about it killing any bees as there weren’t any around my sick hedges. A week after treating with Baythoid I then sprayed the hedge… Read more »

James Carey

Hi Derek, I had no growth and the green beetles were munching all of my Lilly Pilly hedge to the point where one of the plants leaves went pale and bare. The whole hedge was is poor condition and I thought that it was going to die. I have 15 plants. I purchased Yates 50ml baythoid. Mixed 5ml to 1ltre of water. I gave the bottle a shake sprayed at dusk on leaves. (Wear gloves and goggles) 5 weeks later the whole hedge is blooming again and no further signs of beetles. I am so surprised how quickly it has… Read more »


Hi Derek, I have just come across your page after months of trying to work out what has been happening to our Lilly pillies. We are based in Adelaide & I can definitely confirm we have these horrible bugs & they’ve made quite the mess of our once healthy plants. Originally I tried a generic Yates bug/insect killer but to no help until I stumbled across others talking about eco-neem. I have just sprayed all the plants with this until soaking wet in the hopes it will at least start killing the beetles. I will try your suggestion of eco… Read more »


Hi Derek, thanks for your blog. We also have this pesty bug eating some varieties of our lilly pillies in Melbourne (especially Orange Twist variety as others mentioned). I have been using Eco Oil, but thanks to your information, I’ll first spray with Neem/Eco Oil mix in Sept/Oct when the larvae appear.  I would prefer not to use Baythroid as I try to garden organically. I did try a spray of Dipel.  It appeared to help (its great for killing caterpillars on Tomatoes), but I wonder whether it was just that I sprayed in Dec when the numbers had dropped anyway… 🙂… Read more »

Ian Nicol

Hi, I’m in Newcastle and just (Sep 2022) noticed these pesky guys on my two tree hedge – almost every leaf looked like they were Holly. I picked off about 30-40 grubs and 15-20 beetles that night. Took me more than an hour couldn’t see anymore to pick when I’d finished. But then (still at night) I hit the whole thing with Yates Baythroid Advanced from Bunnings. Put on about 750ml for about 10m2 (I overdid it to make sure. Under leaves and shot from interior at back of leaves (for grubs), and top of leaves (for beetles. Killed a… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Ian Nicol
David Cooper

Hi Derek, I would be interested to know if you or any of the contributors have noticed dead wood in toward the centre of the hedge(s). A neighbour asked me to look at her 2 lily pilly hedges yesterday (10/11/22) as the leaves were being eaten. Sure enough the green beetle was present but there were a lot of thin dead twigs that snapped off as soon as they were touched. Almost all of them had 20-30cm raised bulges like ‘Citrus Gall’ with tiny pin prick like holes. Could this be the result of the larvae hatching after feeding from… Read more »


What’s the impact of neem oil on native beetles like the christmas beetle?


Great info in your blog mate. We planted around 80 of the syzygium species. And first we didn’t know what was going on with them as they looked like Christmas holy. All dark green/grey. After research I too tried eco and neem oil and sprayed them. It worked a little bit but they just kept coming back. Next I tried pyrethrum which worked well but I couldn’t find it in a large quantity. A year went past and they returned which made the hedge look dreadfully sick. I then tried Yates mavrik. Mixed 150ml in 15litres in a Stih sr420… Read more »

Ellen Woolley

Hey, does anyone have any footage of them coming in and out of the soil please? thanks.

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