If your avocado leaves are getting holey this spring, you are due for a night hunt. Every May and June, I find myself going out after dark and finding the same culprit: June bugs.

Here’s what I do: Grab a flashlight or better yet, a headlamp. Bring along a cup with a lid. Shine the light on the tree’s canopy and . . .

June bug eating avocado leaf

There it is. A June bug eating an avocado leaf.

You’re almost sure to see these guys in the act.

It doesn’t have to be late, just after dark is fine. It’s no big deal if the leaves of a big tree get munched a bit, but a young tree needs as many whole leaves as possible, especially the newly forming ones. So I focus my hunting on young trees.

June bugs eating avocado leaves young tree

Double attack on new growth of a young tree. This is too much!

I place the cup under the leaf and tap the leaf. The bugs drop right in. Cap the cup. Collect some more.

Sometimes I also squish the bugs right there on the leaves. Wearing a glove prevents needing to wash guts off later.

I prefer, however, to collect them because it makes me feel better to use them as treats for my chickens. Watch them enjoy a handful in this little video:

Insect pests other than June bugs

Other insects also do leaf damage on avocados. I’ve found earwigs, Fuller rose beetles, snails, and grasshoppers munching on leaves many times too.

You’ll know if grasshoppers are doing the damage because they’re active during the day and you can spot them in the tree or see them flutter away when you get close.

But if it’s earwigs (pincher bugs), Fuller rose beetles, or snails, you need to follow the same routine as for June bugs and visit the tree after the sun goes down; they’re all active at night. And they’re all collectable or squishable. I’ve found that if you go out at night and collect or squish all you find for a couple nights in a row, you’ll have significantly less damage for the next couple weeks.

If you have chickens, then let them scratch under your tree. They’ll find and eat most of the damaging critters in only a couple minutes.

More information

See these pages at the University of California website for more information on controlling these pests that cause damage to avocado leaves:

June bugs


Fuller rose beetles



You might also like to read my post:

Growing avocados in Southern California

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