The Bromeliad beetle scientific name is Metamasius mosieri Barber. It is native to Cuba and the Dominican Republic and now likely south Florida. Only recently has an effort been made to collect them in Florida. It has been found in Collier, Glades, Hendry, Sarasota, Lee, Miami-Dade, St. Lucie and Osceola counties. It is an occasional and minor pest on ornamental bromeliads and occurs at very low population densities in its natural habitat.
Often, the Bromeliad beetle is confused with the Mexican bromeliad weevil. Currently, the Mexican bromeliad weevil in sixteen counties is attacking five different species of native bromeliads. Most likely seven additional species of already-threatened will be destroyed if not brought under control. Endangered bromeliads include:
- Catopisis berteroniana,
- Powdery strap airplant, Powdery catopsis, West Indies catopsis, Yellow catopsis, Mealy wild pine
- Catopsis floribunda,
- Florida strap airplant, Many-flowered catopsis, Many-flowered airplany, Florida catopsis
- Catopsis nutans,
- Nodding strap airplant, Nodding airplant, Nodding catopsis
- Guzmania monostachia,
- West Indian tufted airplant, Fuchs’ bromeliad, Strap-leaved guzmania
- Tillandsia balbisiana,
- Northern needleleaf, Inflated wild pine, Reflexed wild pine, Cuttlefish, Balbis’ airplant, Coca-cola airplant
- Tillandsia fasciculata,
- Cardinal airplant, Quill-leaf airplant, Common wild pine, Clustered wild pine, Dog-drink-water
- Tillandsia flexuosa,
- Twisted airplant, Banded airplant, Flexuous wild-pine, Striped airplant
- Tillandsia x floridana,
- No Common Name
- Tillandsia paucifolia,
- Potbelly airplant
- Tillandsia pruinosa,
- Fuzzy wuzzy airplant, Hoary airplant, Tropical airplant
- Tillandsai simulata,
- Broad needleleaf
- Tillandsai x smalliana
- Crow’s nest
- Tillandsia utriculata
- Giant airplant, Giant wild pine, Swollen wild pine, Spreading airplant
- Tillandsia variabilis
- Leatherleaf airplant, Soft-leaved wild pine
The Bromeliad beetle development time appears to be somewhat longer than that Mexican bromeliad weevil. Under ambient conditions in St. Lucie County from egg to adult takes from eighteen to twenty-two weeks. In all stages, the Bromeliad beetle in St. Lucie County has survived freezing temperatures for four to six hour periods. The beetle is active at temperatures between fifty-five degrees to ninety degrees Fahrenheit.
The adult will feed externally on the leaves. They may also feed on flower stalks and inflorescences as do other adult weevils. The Florida bromeliad weevil deposit eggs singly, and each egg is approximately three millimeters in length. They have been found both on the surface of the leaves in the center as well as within the slits in the leaf made by the female. Generally, the female lays one egg per plant. When more are laid on a single plant, cannibalism in the larval stage reduces the number of individuals to one per plant. Adults will survive at least eight months and will lay eggs for at least seven months.
The Florida bromeliad weevil in natural areas does not damage host plant populations enough for management efforts. In nurseries or private collections, it is a minor pest and infrequent and can be controlled with a reduced concentration of an insecticide labeled for beetle adults and grubs. It should be applied as a spray or dip every two to three months to prevent infestations.