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Viburnum leaf beetle larva and feeding damage

A new insect pest to be watchful for on your property is viburnum leaf beetle.  The insect, which is native to Europe, was found in the mid 20th century in Canada and has now spread into Massachusetts and other northeastern states.  Damage to plants consists of leaf feeding both in the larval and adults life stages.  Populations of this insect are capable of defoliating some viburnums.  Susceptible viburnum species include many of our native viburnums.  This includes ones that can be found in planted landscapes such as arrowwood and cranberrybush (both native and European) viburnums.  Many of the viburnums used in landscapes are not bothered by this pest.

The larval (young) stage can be found feeding on leaves in May and early June  while the adults notch leaves and can be found from July until frost.  Larvae are “caterpillar-like”and are yellowish-brown and develop black spots with age.  Larvae will reach about ½” in length.  Adults are are small (around ¼”), brown and lay eggs directly into branch tips later in the growing season that will become next year’s population.  Registered pesticides will control this pest if found.


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