Elm Leaf Beetle


Actual Size: ¼”

Characteristics: Yellow to olive green with black longitudinal stripes on the back.

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Wings: Yes

Habitat: Hide under bark or debris or enter buildings to overwinter, hiding behind curtains, between books, in wall voids, or under carpets.


  • Will overwinter in attics and crawl spaces of homes.
  • Poses a severe threat to elm trees, especially Siberian and English varieties.
  • In spring, they emerge from overwintering sites and attempt to move outside to the nearest elm tree.

Elm Leaf Beetles in Houston, TX

Several types of beetles damage elm leaves, but one invasive pest is a severe threat to elm trees. Found throughout the United States and Canada, Elm leaf beetles are common insects that chew the leaves of elm trees, especially favoring Siberian and English elms. Adult elm leaf beetles chew holes in elm leaves and larvae feed on the leaf surface, producing injuries that make leaves look lacy. Elm leaf beetles often spend winter in and around buildings and can be an important nuisance pest in homes, as they often enter attics, crawlspaces, and living areas seeking winter shelter.

Elm Leaf Beetle Habitat

Adult elm leaf beetles overwinter in protected locations, often in houses or other structures. In homes, they find protective locations to overwinter, like attics and crawl spaces, and then emerge in the spring. Adults move to elm trees where they lay their eggs in groups of 5 to 25 on the underside of leaves. Elm leaf beetles feed upon all elms, and larvae skeletonize the leaf surface, causing damaged foliage to turn brown to whitish. Elm leaf beetles, when abundant, can entirely defoliate large elm trees, which eliminates summer shade and reduces the aesthetic value of trees.

Elm Leaf Carpet Beetle Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

Elm leaf beetles are nuisance pests as they do not bite or sting and they do not reproduce or feed indoors during the winter. They do not harm people or the wooden components found in homes. The effects of beetles feeding on trees can greatly affect the appearance of elms, rendering them unsightly, and can reduce growth and weaken them, particularly when large beetle populations persist for several years. If beetles are observed in the autumn as they approach the house, it’s wise to contact a pest management professional for licensed treatment and beetle control.