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Disclaimer

Crop Beetles

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Family: Chrysomelidae

General information of certain beetles that are pests of crops.  The list includes:

Cucumber Beetle    Colorado Potato Beetle    False Potato Beetle 

Flea Beetle    Bean Leaf Beetle    Red Turnip Beetle    Striped Blister Beetle 

Cucumber Beetle

The Cucumber Beetle is a major pest of cucumbers, soybeans, beans and corn found all over the United States.
There are three species of the cucumber beetle that are found in different locations: the spotted cucumber beetle (larvae: southern corn rootworm); western cucumber beetle and the western spotted cucumber beetle.

Adult cucumber beetles are greenish yellow and are identified differently by their backs.  The spotted cucumber beetle has six large black spots on its back, and the western cucumber beetle has stripes instead of spots.  Larvae of theCucumber Beetle species are worm-like and yellow and are known as the Southern Corn Rootworm because it tunnels through the roots of plants, mainly corn.  Cucumber beetles over winter in corn and bean fields and hide in trash piles.  Females lay their eggs in clusters under leaves.  From there, the larvae hatch and fall to the ground in order to tunnel into the roots.  Adults attack young plants feeding on their stems and leaves along with the buds and petals of mature plants.  They also carry and spread a bacterial organism that wilts the plants they feed upon.


Colorado Potato Beetle

The Colorado potato beetle is also known as the potato bug.  They feed on potato leaves, tomato plants, eggplants, pepper plants and tobacco leaves.  Primary damage is done to leaves, but in some cases and on some plants they will feed on fruit.  They over winter in the soil in fence rows and under litter in gardens and fields.

The adult Colorado potato beetle is yellow with black stripes on its wing covers.  This beetle is about 3/8 inches long. Females deposit 20-40 yellow eggs underneath the leaves of the host plant.  Larvae are humpbacked with a reddish tan to brick red color with two rows of black spots on its sides. T hey also have six legs and are ½ inches long. 
The pupa is usuallyColorado Potato Beetle yellow and found motionless in soil beneath the plant.  After emerging from the soil as adults, they search for suitable host plants where they feed and lay eggs. 

There are twelve species of the Colorado potato beetle found in the United States, including two found in Florida.  These two are the Colorado potato beetle and the False Potato Beetle. 

The false potato beetle is identified differently from the Colorado potato beetle because one stripe in the center of their wing cover is a light brown instead of white.  The larvae are also different, having only one row of dark spots instead of two.

The Colorado potato beetle got its name when it was seen in Colorado in 1865 feeding on buffalo bur.  It was assumed that the beetle was a native to Colorado so the name stuck.  The potato beetle was actually first discovered in 1811 in the Rocky Mountains and its association with the potato plant was not known until it started destroying the crop around 1859 in Nebraska.  From 1863 to 1867 it went by many names: the ten striped spearman, the ten lined potato bug, potato bug and new potato bug. Despite having so many different names, it is currently being commonly called the Colorado Potato Bug.


Flea Beetle

The Flea Beetle is named for a small jumping beetle of the leaf beetle family.  They are identified by their small, shiny brown bodies and enlarged back legs used for jumping when disturbed.  The flea beetle spend the winter under leaves and become active during warm weather.  As strong fliers, flea beetles seek emerging host plants that produce chemicalspicture of flea beetle the beetles can sense.  Eggs are laid in cracks in the soil at the base of the plant. 
Larvae are worm-like and feed on the roots and root hairs.  They pupate and emerge from the soil as adults.

Flea beetles feed on a variety of plants depending on their species.  Adults cause the most damage by creating “shot holing” or holes in the leaves that makes it look like it was damage by a fine buckshot. The most damage is done to cabbage; however flea beetles will also feed on squash, beans, corn, sunflowers, lettuce, potatoes, weeds, tomato, eggplant, tobacco leaves, horseradish and other mustards, primrose, grape, crabapple, willow trees, corn and sweet potatoes.


Bean Leaf Beetle

The Bean leaf beetle is ¼ inches long, has a yellowish reddish color, a black band on its outer wings and four blackBean Leaf Beetle spots on its back.  Eggs are orange colored and laid in soil at the base of host plants.  Larvae are white and segmented with six small legs near its head.  They feed on host roots for thirty days and pupate before emerging as adults.
Bean leaf beetles are found throughout the southeastern United States north to Canada and west to Kansas and New Mexico.  Adults feed when host plants first emerge making small round holes underneath the leaves.  They also chew on the stems and will feed on pods when they develop. Susceptible host plants are beans, peas, cowpeas, soybeans and corn.



Red Turnip Beetle

The Red Turnip Beetle attacks turnips, radishes, rapeseed, mustards and canola.  They are bright red and have black and red spots on their head and three black stripes on their back.  Larvae have a long segmented body with black coloring on top and brown coloring on the bottom and their body is covered in short hairs.  Pupae are bright orange.
Red Turnip Beetles
The Red turnip beetle will over winter in the soil near the host plant.  Eggs hatch from March to May and larvae feed on the foliage during the daytime.  If disturbed, they will drop to the ground.
Larvae then return to the soil to pupate and emerge as adults.  They feed through June and return to the soil once again to rest before appear in late summer to continue feed and reproduce.

Damage caused by the red turnip beetle can be done to the entire plant and usually stuns and kills the plant.
The beetle feed on the leaves, flowers, stems and seed pods.  Young seedlings and transplanted plants are most susceptible to injury during heavy infestations.


Striped Blister Beetle

The striped blister beetle is found all over the United States with different species found in the southeastern coastal plain.  Adults produce one to two generations per year.  Eggs are oval and white and deposited in the soil at the base of the host plant.  Females cover their eggs after they are laid in the soil.
Larvae have long legs that reduce in size as they develop.  They have small heads and do not feed immediately after hatching.  Eventually they turn a reddishStriped Blister Beetle brown color with brown bands on their abdomen.
During the first instar, they feed on grasshopper and bee eggs.  The larvae go through five instars before pupating in the soil and emerging as adults.
The Adult striped blister beetle is black and yellow with two black spots on its head, two black stripes on its thorax and two to three black stripes on its body.  Its hind wings are transparent.  Adults are active in the morning and late afternoon and seek shelter from the sun at mid-day.

Host plants that can become damaged by the striped blister beetle are been, beet, carrot, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, corn, eggplant, melon, mustard, pea, pepper, potato, radish, spinach, squash, sweet potato, tomato and turnip.
Adults also feed on clover, soybean and pigweed.

Blister beetles get their name from their ability to produce blisters when human skin comes into contact with a crushed beetle.  This usually occurs on the neck and arms because blister beetles are attracted to outdoor lights at night.  Blister beetles also produce Cantharidin, a highly toxic that irritates the gastrointestinal and urinary tracts in livestock and can cause death in horses. 

Predators of blister beetles are robber flies, meadowlarks, bluebirds and the scissor-tailed flycatcher.

Credits:
Our thanks to Lani Powell for research and writing which made this Crop Beetle Information page possible.

Cucumber Beetle    Colorado Potato Beetle    False Potato Beetle   Scavenger Beetles 

Flea Beetle    Bean Leaf Beetle    Red Turnip Beetle    Striped Blister Beetle     Grape Pests

General Household Pest Control    Pest Control Supplies    Animals and Pests    Grain Beetles    Crop Beetles