Turkey Tracks: The Gold Bug

Turkey Tracks:  June 28, 2016

The GOLD Bug

For two years now some bug has been eating my ornamental sweet potato vines.

Big, big holes.

Christine Annis showed me what it was on her last visit to trim the dog’s nails.  Christine’s business is House Calls For Pets, and her farm is Goose River Farm off Wiley Road.

I could not believe my eyes when she pushed back the leaves and found one of the “gold bugs.”



This critter is as shiny as a lost gold earring dropped into the leaves.

It’s a Gold Tortoise Beetle, Metriona bicolor, and it specializes in ornamental sweet potato vines.

After two years, I have quite a few as they winter over just fine.  Like the Japanese Beetles, they will drop to the ground in a hurry if you shake the leaves.

Here’s one of the “bi color” versions, which is a clay red.


I wondered at first if these were male/female colors, but the name suggests otherwise.

Nature is endlessly fascinating to me.  Why would a beetle like this be such a shiny color???  It certainly does not lend to camouflage, does it?

One of the best ways to handle them is to pick them off every chance you get.


Author: louisaenright

I am passionate about whole, nutrient-dense foods, developing local markets, and strengthening communities.

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