Helophorus nubilus F Wheat shoot beetle

The wheat shoot beetle is an occasional and minor pest of wheat and, occasionally, oats;

attacks typically occur on crops that follow a grass ley. The larvae, which transfer from the ploughed-in grass, bite into the base of the shoots of the young cereal plants; the centre shoots may then turn yellow. Damaged shoots usually have a distinct, often ragged, hole at the base; they may also be severed. Unlike certain other ley pests (e.g. frit fly, Oscinella frit, p. 195; wheat flea beetle, Crepidodera ferruginea, p. 141) the larvae do not enter the shoot but may be found (although usually with difficulty) in the surrounding soil. In the British Isles, infestations occur mainly in eastern England.

BIOLOGY

Adults occur throughout the spring and summer, but eggs are not laid until the autumn. The larvae feed from November onwards and complete their development in the following spring. Pupation usually occurs in April or May, and adults usually appear from May onwards.

DESCRIPTION

Adult 3-4 mm long, dirty yellow, marked with black; pronotum hood-like and ridged longitudinally; elytra prominently ridged longitudinally. Larva up to 7 mm long; body mainly white, with brownish or blackish dorsal plates; head dark brown; thoracic legs short; anal cerci moderately long.

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