Beet carrion beetle

The beet carrion beetle is associated mainly with members of the Chenopodiaceae and was formerly an important pest of mangold and sugar beet crops, especially in continental Europe. Attacks have also been noted on various other plants, including cereals, potatoes and vegetable brassicas, smooth-edged holes being made in the leaves. If populations are large, adults and larvae cause significant damage to the foliage of beet seedlings, especially on backward, slowly germi

Fig. 200 Pronotum of turnip mud beetle, Helophorus rufipes.

nating crops. Infested leaves are often daubed with sticky, black excrement.

BIOLOGY

Adults overwinter in sheltered situations in fields or hedges, or at the edges of copses or open woodlands. They appear in the spring and feed on various plants before migrating to beet crops. Eggs are then deposited in the soil in association with host plants, mainly in April, May or June, each female laying about 100-120. The eggs hatch about a week later. Larvae then feed on the foliage for up to 3 weeks; they may also attack the plant roots. Fully grown larvae wander away from host plants and eventually pupate in the soil, close to the surface, each in an earthen cell. New adults emerge about 2 weeks later and almost immediately seek overwintering quarters. The period of egg laying is protracted and all stages of the pest may occur together; there is, however, just one generation annually.

DESCRIPTION

Adult 9-12 mm long, flattened and broad-bodied, dull black, clothed in short golden-brown hairs; elytra finely punctured and with three ornate longitudinal ribs (Fig. 201). Egg shiny yellowish-white, spherical, 1-2 mm across. Larva up to 15 mm long; body mainly black and shiny; somewhat woodlouse-like, with prominent, laterally flanged tergites and elongate processes on the last abdominal tergite; antennae long, 3-segmented (Fig. 202).

Family SCARABAEIDAE (chafers, dung beetles, etc.)

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