One morning, I chanced upon what I recognised to be the dreaded yellow orchid beetle (Lema pectoralis) on one of my epidendrums. It was quite a pretty thing – striking yellow body with black eyes and legs. However, I’m well aware of the untold damage these beetles can do, especially their larvae. So with the thing gripped between my thumb and index finger…squish! No mercy.

 

True enough, a few days later, its larvae launched a full scale attack on my orchids.

First, you’ll see damaged petals, like they were chewed off. This is the best a telltale sign.

Damaged dendrobium

 

Look closely and you can see a slimey blob. This is the larva’s camouflage and its colour can match its meal.

A slimey blob – the telltale signs of beetle larva

 

Here’s another picture. Red-orange slime from red-orange flowers.

Larva blob

 

I wiped off the slime with a tissue and behold – the tiny terror reveals itself! It doesn’t get any nastier.

Lema pectoralis larva

 

The best thing to control them is to pick them off and squish them. You can spray pesticide if the population is severe (frankly, I’ve never used any on this bug before) but it’s always good to try the safer methods first.

Lema pectoralis. Remember this name.