Beetles turning trees brown in Chaves County

ROSWELL, N.M. (KRQE)- A lot of trees in one New Mexico county are turning brown.

Experts say it’s because of one little bug and not the well-known bark beetle.

Officials with the Chaves County Extension Office say that these bugs are called “Elm Leaf Beetles” and while they come around each year, it seems to be worse this summer.

“We really notice it when they get in high numbers which they have this year,” said Sandra Barraza, with the Chaves County Extension Office.

The Elm Leaf Beetle has trees all over the area turning brown.

The bugs are eating at the leaves, leaving tiny holes in the leaves which is one of the trademark signs of the beetle.

“As those larva you know feed and grow larger, of course as they grow larger they eat more and more,” said Barraza.

Officials from the Chaves County Extension Office say that these bugs can kill a tree.

If you do notice the bugs, there are insecticides you can use but the sooner you act the better.

The hotter the temperatures the quicker the beetle can spread.

Adult beetles are about a quarter inch in length. They will be a yellow or yellow-green color and will have two stripes down its back.

According to the extension office, although the trees may not look great, if you treat it, it should be just fine.

“The trees will probably recover fine as again this isn’t the first time this has happened,” said Barraza.

The Elm Leaf Beetle is not native to New Mexico. It is normally found in central Asia. It accidentally made its way to the US in the 1830’s in a shipment. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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