50 years of cereal leaf beetle management research

October 17, 2011
The cereal leaf beetle, Oulema melanopus L., is an introduced insect pest of small grains first recorded in the United States in the early 1960s. Since its introduction from Europe or Asia into Michigan, cereal leaf beetle has rapidly spread and can now be found in most states. Cereal leaf beetle feeds on numerous species of grasses and is considered a major pest of oats, barley, and wheat. Credit: D.D. Reisig

A new, open-access article in the Journal of Integrated Pest Management provides a review of cereal leaf beetle biology, past and present management practices, and current research being conducted.

Cereal leaf beetle, Oulema melanopus L., is an introduced of small grains first recorded in the United States in the early 1960s. Since its introduction from Europe or Asia into Michigan, cereal leaf beetle has rapidly spread and can now be found in most states. Cereal leaf beetle feeds on numerous species of grasses and is considered a major pest of oats, barley, and wheat.

Although several studies have investigated cereal leaf beetle biology and , numerous gaps remain in understanding the mechanisms that influence its spread and distribution, which makes predicting pest outbreaks difficult. Because of the difficulty in predicting when and where pest outbreaks will occur many growers in the southeast apply insecticides on a calendar basis rather than using a threshold-based approach.

A future challenge will be to develop new information and procedures that will encourage growers to reevaluate the way they are approaching spring-time in wheat, and consider adoption of the integrated pest management approach.

Explore further: Biologists sequenced red flour beetle genome

More information: "Fifty Years of Cereal Leaf Beetle in the U.S.: An Update on Its Biology, Management, and Current Research" is available for free at bit.ly/r7KLZY

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