black beetle with white spots
Location: Waikiki Beach, HI
July 26, 2011 8:32 pm
I found a black beetle with white spots on the back. About the width of my thumb and the size of the upper digit of my thumb above the 10th floor on the balcony of my hotel on the beach of Waikiki.
It walked around with ease and flew quickly and strongly into the air above the balcony. Impressive.
I also heard a hard chatter kind of sound – perhaps wings vibrating? This just before it flew away but while still on the concrete surface.
Signature: Paul

Oriental Flower Beetle from Hawaii

Hi Paul,
This is some species of Scarab Beetle, but we did not have any luck matching it to any species found on Hawaii.  Interestingly, the very comprehensive Insects of Hawaii website only lists two scarabs, which we find highly unusual.  Since you are in Honolulu, there is a good chance this Scarab arrived with a tourist or with freight.  Hawaii is populated with many invasive exotic species.  We believe this Scarab may be in the subfamily Cetoniinae, the Fruit and Flower Chafers.  We continued to research and we found a matching image under Hawaiian Insects on BugGuide, and it is identified as
Protaetia orientalis.  The Entophile website discusses this Invasive Exotic import as having been introduced to Hawaii prior to 2002.  In another posting, Entophile cites the Bishop Museum regarding the Oriental Flower Beetle.  BugNation has some images of swarms of Oriental Flower Beetles eating fruit.

Thank you for the quick tracking on this one.  Sorry another invasive has found a home in Waikiki.  Interesting beetle though.

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Location: Hawaii

46 Responses to Oriental Flower Beetle from Hawaii

  1. Dennis says:

    Might be called oriental flower beetle, I live in Waianae on Oahu and this beetle about one dozen
    were all over my ripening beefstake tomato fruits.

  2. Alicia Kamahele says:

    I live in Hawaii Kai and recently after heavy rains I noticed about 6-8 dead beetles close to where the rain gutter spout ends on my grass. So now, every time it rains heavily, I see these dead beetles. They look like the oriental flower beetle images posted. Weird part is I see them dead after heavy rain by the rain gutter spout. I don’t have any fruit trees or tomato plants…any comments?

    • bugman says:

      Very curious, but no theory at this time.

    • Beetlehater says:

      I hate those damn huge beetles — they eat every fruit there is. They swarm around my mangoes and eat the buds off of my avocado. Why isn’t the State more exited about these monsters? The state gets all worked up over some harmless lizard and then turns a blind eye to these.

      If they could be exterminated by rain-downspouts that would be a hell of a secret weapon!

    • Pauline says:

      I too have them after a rain where are they coming from and why are they ending up dead? Is the nest on the roof? I never find them alive.

      • bugman says:

        They emerge after pupating underground. They are not social insects with a nest. We can only speculate on why you are only finding dead individuals.

  3. Paul says:

    I have alot of these beetles at my house, it just sucks because these bugs was eating all our mangos.

  4. Paul says:

    I live Nanakuli and I have a lot of these beetles at my house, it just sucks because these bugs was eating all our mangos. Now its gonna eat all our fruits before we get to. Kiss the fruits goodbye Hawaii!!!!

  5. Alicia Kamahele says:

    Still getting those bugs after it rains…some alive, most are dead on the grass close to the rain gutter spouts…will ask my neighbor if they see them on their mango tree. Hope they don’t ruin the mangoes in Hawaii.

  6. kanani says:

    I live on Maui and a few days ago I think its this oriental flower beetle , it flew in my car and i panicked, I thought it was a bumble bee at first cuz the buzzing sound, but it landed in the seat n I waa freaked out because I never seen anything like it then jus yesterday i seen swarms of it. Are they dangerous???

    • bugman says:

      The do not sting or bite, but if one flew into a car and freaked out the driver, it might cause an accident, so the might be considered indirectly dangerous.

  7. Kamele says:

    I live in Kahului, Maui and just found three of these in my yard. I also work at the UHMC campus and have noticed a lot of these beetles on the campus.

  8. Alex says:

    I have seen this only in my apartment close to UH: Manoa. I think they fly in through the window but I live on the 18th floor so I’m not sure…Do these beetles infest homes? Once in a while I’ll find one and it will play dead until I stop touching it then it will start moving again and burrow itself into the carpet (still visible). Recently I found one in my bed when I lifted the sheets it fell out (hence the post). I am pretty sure they just get fly in through the window, or get blown in by the wind, but I just want to know just in case I have to do some pest control. Thanks.

  9. groy says:

    i noticed them only recently…they are all dead that suddenly appeared after rain near our downspouts…thought we were being invaded by some unknown beatle…we live in hawaii kai

  10. MililaniWahine says:

    My dog just found one of this beetle. We live in Mililani Town.

  11. Kahala Palm says:

    I live in Kahala. There are a lot of these Oriental Flower Beetles. I first noticed it two years ago. A mango skin was on the roof and when I turned it over, I counted 26 beetles that flew out of it. They also like to go on Palm blossoms. We catch several of them every day on our palm blossoms. Today I caught 13 of them.

    • leo says:

      Just notice them in my garden on my mango tree and crown flower tree. Caught about 10. Live in Kapolei Kanehili Hawaiian Homestead. May be good protein…..

      • bugman says:

        Though we don’t know how entomophagy weighs in on them, we imagine they are most likely not a problem to eat. With beetles, it is generally the tender grubs that are eaten.

  12. Eve says:

    I live in Waianae, Hawaii on the island of Oahu, found this Oriental Beatle in my orchid plant. It was hanging onto a piece of Orchid Bark. I don’t have mango or any type of fruit trees in my yard nor any of my neighbors. Are they problematic to flower plants?

    • bugman says:

      According to Hawaii Nature Journal: “On Guam, where it is widespread, it has been known to feed on the flowers of papaya, coconut, betel nut, mango and corn, and may damage the flowers of these trees, resulting in fewer fruit.”

  13. marx says:

    Ahank you for posting information about this beetle, since I had been very curious about it. It seems that this beetle is highly attracted to cigar smoke. If I’m on the golf course, beach, or wherever as soon as I light up this beetle seems to come from out of nowhere. It hovers in the smoke for a few seconds takes off and comes back a time or two I thought that was very interesting thanks again

  14. Kevin says:

    I also live in Hawaii Kai, Mauka on Mariner’s Ridge and started noticing this beetle this year. I always find 3 or 4 dead in my pool skimmer. Today I noticed two latched on to the fronds of some very young Areca Palms. I don’t see them much during the day, never noticed them in my pool during the day, are they nocturnal? Are they feeding on my Areca Palms? They seemed to be.

  15. Chris says:

    They’re in Kailua now, too. Started noticing them several months ago. I was mortified. How do we get rid of them without poisoning my yard ?? I have a big mango tree, and other trees / plants that I love.

  16. Bev says:

    They are in Aiea. Found some on the neighbors lychee tree. Found some live and dead ones in my yard. How do you get rid of them?

  17. Pauline says:

    This is the same thing happening to us what Alicia Kamahele wrote back in Apirl 8 and 21, 2014. When it rains it comes down from the rain gutter. We see lots of die ones off the walk way. In April we found about 30 dead ones. Now there is about a dozen there dead. We do not have any fruit trees or any vegetable plant, but the neighbor in the back have a two mango trees and Mac tree. The tree is close to our house. I hope this is nothing to worry about.

  18. Ken Ketcherside says:

    I see a comment about cigar smoke being an attractant for oriental flower beetles and wondered if you knew what kind of cigars the commentor was using (that attracted the beetles) ? I live on Maui (Wailuku) and have a very bad infestation…desperate to find a way to trap and rid myself of this pest. Please respond to:
    Mahalo for your time.
    Aloha, Ken

    • Ken Ketcherside says:

      Follow-up to my post: What kind of sicar smoke are they attracted to? Do you know of any other attractants I can use to trap them? And, please correct email for response to:

  19. chris says:

    I read to get rid of compost piles, tall grass or anything they can burrow into. I started putting a mixture of chopped garlic, mild dish soap and water on my heirloom tomato plants – seems to help keep them off of those plants, without harming the plants or tomatoes. I know the beetles are chomping on my heliconia and avocado leaves.

  20. Chris says:

    Putting sandwich bags around my tomatoes to keep the slugs and birds (and I guess the beetles too now). I cut a hole in the bottom corners, so rain water can drain. Also put tin foil over the reddening tomatoes. Seems to do the job.

  21. Stan Isara says:

    Just found one clinging to the cement wall at work here in Waikele , and found it to be an interesting bug , cause of it’s size , color, and patterns on it’s body. Being a bug person , I was surprised that it just clung to my finger and just hung around , usually other types of bugs will try to escape you . Thought it was a Coconut Beetle , glad it wasn’t ? We have traps here for that beetle on site . Hope we don’t see any !

  22. Lauren says:

    I live in Spreckelsville, Maui. I have noticed very slow flying beetles for about a year now, in the light of a street light at night outside my home. I have also lately seem a few flying around and landing on my very mature palms. Today I noticed some of my palm leaves have turned yellow at the tips and one is completely yellow. Anyone think this oriental flower beetle is killing my trees?

  23. Lei says:

    My aunt and uncle in Michigan have a farm and every summer you can find dozens of these dead on the floor. During the summer months it gets really hot there so they decided to finish off the basement and make an extra bedroom down there so as in the summer time to sleep down there.. well it is very cool and dark in the basement and when they went down there to start doing the renovations to it there were hundreds of these flying around and dead on the floor and my aunt started stepping on them and swatting at them… FYI DO NOT STEP ON THEM OR SMASH THEM!!!! They are like a STINK BUG!!!!!! She had smashed sooo many that the house stuck for a looong time!!!!’… lol…. even if youjust smash 1 them smell lingers for a long while…So don’t do it!!!

  24. Uncle Al says:

    Just found one of these on the side of my house. Ugly little spud! First I’ve seen here in lower Makakilo/upper Kapolei. I have one little baby lime tree. As a fruit eater, I will monitor for these regularly. Doing more research, but will also inform the city pest bubbas. Was concerned about coconut rhinoceros beetle, but not it. Any additional info from anyone would be appreciated. Mahalo!

  25. mike bailey says:

    Just found this beetle eating my lychee in Lihue. Fortunately they seem to be targeting the cracked brown fruit and leaving the whole red fruit alone. I am finding one , two or three in each cracked lychee.

  26. Dave says:

    I live Waialua, Oahu. These buggers are nesting in my gutter downspouts. I can hear them crawling around. Flushed them out with a hose and a bunch of beetle debris, roof grains and organic material came out. Plus a bunch of beetles. They eat all sorts of stuffs – loving the young lilikoi leaves at the moment.

  27. Hattie P Wagnon says:

    My cat spotted one beetle then two, looks like they are copulating and then a third one appeared. I live on the 35th floor of a condo in Waikiki.

  28. Sue says:

    I just found this website too with even more history, saying the 1st beetle arrived on Oahu via military aircraft in the 1950s! I also read on another site that these beetles are raised commercially in Korea as a food that fights liver cancer. They are pretty and rather destructive beetles. Well established in Kapolei, Oahu about 8 yrs ago. To conserve water, my lawn had thick, moist turf. Great for a couple years until these guys started to dive into grass, crawl down and lay eggs! If you do any digging, especially where lawn has browned, you can find them. When my garden plants died in my raised bed, it was their grubs. My solution is back yard chickens to prep garden beds in Spring and clean up the compost pile. I keep a compost pile to attract them, roaches and centipedes for the chickens. There are still plenty beetles flying around, but it seems to help reduce their dammage. 😀

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