Green T Pest Alert: Viburnum Leaf BeetleIn Winter on July 13, 2015 at 12:21 am | Written by admin
It seems as though we have a new pest invading our trees and plants: the Viburnum leaf beetle. This critter has been spotted again around the Chicagoland area and has been seen since early summer. It can be quite the nuisance. Arborists and horticulturists across the area are warning homeowners about the pest and explaining how to spot them and what to do if you find one.
What Is The Viburnum Leaf Beetle?
The Viburnum leaf beetle is native to Europe and as the name suggests, the insect’s preferred host is the Arrowwood Viburnum. It was first found in the United States in 1994 and in Cook County in 2009. Throughout 2012 and 2013 reports of the pest increased in Cook County and DuPage County. In 2014, there were reports of complete defoliation in Winnetka that was caused by this beetle. The Viburnum leaf beetle larva and adults feed on foliage and can cause extensive damage, like they did in Winnetka.
How To Identify Viburnum Leaf Beetles
If you are not sure exactly what you are looking for, Cornell University has a wonderful table with lots of pictures to identify Viburnum leaf beetles. There is a timeline you can click on and pictures that you can enlarge. The different stages of the life cycle of the Viburnum leaf beetle include egg sites, larvae, pupae, and adults. The pest can cause damage during each stage, so it is important to know what to look for.
What Should You Do About Viburnum Leaf Beetles?
Once you know what you are looking for, you should start monitoring your plants and trees. One of the most effective measures you can take is to remove any egg-infested twigs. The egg-laying sites are easiest to spot when your viburnums are leafless between early October and April. When you’re looking for egg-laying sites, keep an eye out for rows of small, brownish-black bumps (only about 1 to 2 mm in diameter) along the underside of young branches and on the stems of plants where adults have been feeding. Keep in mind these are not the actual eggs. Female Viburnum leaf beetles make holes in the twig (albeit very small holes or cavities) and lay up to eight eggs inside. They then seal the eggs in with a special cement they make from excrement and chewed-up bark. This is why you have to remove the entire twig. If larvae are present, pesticide can be an effective option.
If you do find Viburnum leaf beetles present, please report it to Illinois Natural History Survey, Illinois Department of Agriculture, or University of Illinois Extension Service so they can continue to monitor the pest.
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