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Viburnum Leaf Beetle

Paul Weston, Cornell University, Bugwood.org
Pyrrhalta viburni Paykull - Larva(e)            The Viburnum leaf beetle overwinters as eggs. Eggs hatch in spring and the small larvae begin to feed on the foliage. The leaf beetle larvae have a characteristic feeding habit of eating the foliage along the leaf veins. After the larvae are finished, all that’s left is the skeletonized leaf. The newly hatched larvae are very small (about 1-2mm long) and greenish-yellow. Small larvae graze on the undersurface of the leaf. As the larvae mature, their bodies become cover in a pattern of dark spots and darken in color. Mature larvae are 10mm long and migrate to the soil to pupate. The pupal stage lasts for about ten days. The span from egg hatch to adult can be as quick as two months.VLB larvae

Beetles emerge from the soil and begin to feed on foliage of Viburnum. Adult beetles chew oblong shot holes into the leaves. Adults not very fancy for an exotic leaf beetle; they are about 5-6mm long, brown with filamentous antennae. Adult beetles can survive until the first frost. During this time, they migrate to new bushes, feed and lay eggs. An adult female can lay up to 500 eggs. The eggs are deposited in rows usually on the new growth stems; they appear as neatly arranged nodules. A hole is dug out from the stem and up to five eggs are deposited. The hole is capped with cement made from plant fiber, spit and a little excrement.

Viburnum leaf beetles feed on many species of Viburnum in both adult and larval stages. The beetles are very damaging because of this successive feeding by larvae followed by adults; bushes do not have time to re-vegetate between beetle stages. Two or three consecutive years of defoliation can cause significant die-back of the canopy and kill a bush. 
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