Cactus longhorn beetles are large, flightless, black beetles found in North American deserts of the western United States and northern Mexico. M. gigas is native to the Sonoran desert at elevations below 4900 feet. The front wings of these beetles are fused forming a single, hardened shell, from which this group derives its Latin name. The genus includes twenty species. This beetle lives in the hot, arid deserts of the American Southwest. It spends most of its life cycle in and around various cactus plants, especially those in the Opuntia family. It relies on the cactus for both food and shelter. Females chew “wounds” in the cactus and lay eggs in the openings. The young beetles (grubs) feed inside until they emerge as adults.
- Do cactus longhorn beetles hurt cactus? The adult is not the destroyer of the plants, but rather its progeny.
- In rare or valuable cactus specimens, a regimen of vigilance and control of cactus longhorn beetles is necessary.
- The insect has plenty of natural predators and is rarely an issue of high concern.
“In rare or valuable cactus specimens, a regimen of vigilance and control of cactus longhorn beetles is necessary to protect the plants.”