The elm leaf beetle Pyrrhalta luteola (ELB) is a significant pest of elm trees. The beetle and, in particular, its larvae can defoliate elm trees rapidly during the summer months, weakening and possibly killing the tree over time.
The beetle was first discovered in Australia, in 1989 on the Mornington Peninsula, although it may have been introduced some years before. The beetle is now established in Melbourne particularly in the Southern and Eastern urban areas and extending well into Gippsland. More recently the beetle has been discovered inGeelong, Benalla, Mansfield, Launceston, Bendigo and Albury.
Although the adult beetle can fly between trees they are natural hitchhikers and can spread quickly to new areas in cars, caravans and other vehicles.