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Harm from the May beetle and how to deal with it

May beetle in the garden May beetle (beetle) is a common pest of green spaces. In late spring, they can often be seen in the trees. During the flight, the insect buzzes loudly, and by this sound they can be easily identified. Adults feed on tree leaves in gardens and parks. May beetle larvae eat plant roots, which leads to their death.

A three-year-old larva is capable of completely destroying the root system of a young tree in an hour. Considering that one female beetle lays up to 70 eggs, the appearance of these insects on the site threatens with almost complete destruction of green spaces.

Insect description

larva and adult beetle What the May beetle looks like, we all know well from childhood. Someone saw them live, and someone in the pictures for the fairy tale “Thumbelina”.

The body of the beetle is barrel-shaped, black or brown-brown, elongated in the back. The length reaches 3.5 – 4 cm. It is distinguished from other insects by antennae with long bristles..

The May beetle larva, also known as the groove, has a thick, white body bent in the middle, three pairs of legs, and a large brown head..

The beetle pupa looks more like an adult, but with shorter wings..

May beetle reproduction and growth stages

development cycle of the beetleThe development cycle of the May beetle lasts five years. At the end of May, adults crawl out from the ground to the surface, females mate with males and lay about 70 eggs in the soil to a depth of 15-20 cm. After that, the females die. After a month and a half, small white larvae appear from the eggs. They spend four years in the ground, continuously feeding on the roots of plants. In the summer of the fourth year, the larva turns into a pupa, and a year later, adults appear from the ground..

What harm does the beetle and its larva do

beetle larvaAn adult May beetle does not have time to do much harm, since it lives for only about two months. Larvae do much more damage to plants.

If the plants one after another begin to wither for no apparent reason, most likely larvae live under its roots. They can be found by digging a hole in the ground with a shovel bayonet depth..

How to distinguish a beetle larva from similar ones

Before starting the fight with the beetle larva (Melolontha sp.), You should make sure that it is she, and not other insects. Larvae are most often confused:

  1. Rhinoceros beetle (Oryctes nasicornis L.). Lives in compost heaps.
  2. Golden bronze (Cetonia aurata). Also prefers compost heaps.
  3. Stag beetle (Lucanus cervus L.). Dwells in dead wood.

Below is a comparative photo of the larvae of the May beetle and the bronzovka:beetle and bronzovka larvae

Looking closely, you can see the difference between them. The difference also exists in the places of accumulation of larvae. So, immature individuals of the May beetle feed on the roots of plants, respectively, and live there. Bronzovka larvae have weaker jaws, live in compost heaps and feed on dead organic matter.

Even below is a comparative photo of the larvae of a rhinoceros beetle and a deer:rhinoceros and deer beetle larvae

May beetle larvae are not found in compost heaps, as they feed only on live roots.

Folk ways to combat the May beetle and larvae

beetle fightingIn order to successfully fight the May beetle, you need to know how it behaves:

  1. In the early morning, beetles are usually inactive and can be easily shaken off the trees on a specially laid out bedding. The collected pests are then destroyed.
  2. In the dark, beetles flock to the light, so they can be collected in light traps. It must be prepared in advance – any shallow container is coated with a sticky substance and a light bulb is placed in the middle. In the evening, the trap is set out on the street. Not only May beetles stick to such traps, but also scoop butterflies, whose caterpillars destroy the plantings of cabbage, beets and green tomatoes..
  3. Starlings also will not give up the meaty delicacy, so a birdhouse on the site is necessary.
  4. The land under the trees is sown with white clover or lupine. These plants enrich the soil with nitrogen, which scares off the larvae..
  5. The ground under the plantings is sprayed with an infusion of onion peels or a pink solution of potassium permanganate.

Common hedgehogs are big lovers of larvae. If a thorny family settles nearby, the pest population will begin to decline rapidly..

Also, the larvae are collected by hand while digging the soil..

Chemical control agents

no May beetle in the gardenAll of the above control measures are effective only with a small number of pests. If your plantings are rapidly dying, it is time to turn to chemicals to get rid of the May beetle. How to use them, and what drugs they relate to:

  1. Zemlin. Refers to insecticides of contact and intestinal action. The active ingredient is diazinon. It affects soil pests, keeping its effect for two months. It is introduced into the soil during planting and in the fall as a preventive measure after harvest.Zemlin drug
  2. “Nemabakt”. The drug belongs to biological and is completely safe for use. It inhabits the soil with a predatory nematode and special bacteria that enter the body of the larvae through the respiratory organs and destroy it. Then the nematode leaves the empty shell and goes in search of new victims. In winter, these worms fall into suspended animation, and with the arrival of heat, they revive and begin to feed. The product is diluted with water and applied to a pre-moistened and loosened soil..drug Nemabakt
  3. “Pochin”. An analogue of “Zemlin” based on diazinon. The drug is available in the form of granules, which increase its duration. It is introduced into the soil in early spring and is effective throughout the season.drug Pochin
  4. Aktara. A product with the active ingredient thiamethoxam. One day after being introduced into the soil, all pests die in it. Can be used at any time of the year and in any weather. High humidity is not an obstacle and does not affect its properties.Aktara drug
  5. “Antikhrusch”. It is produced in the form of a concentrated emulsion with two active ingredients – imidacloprid and bifenthrin. The product has a prolonged action, high efficiency, is resistant to precipitation and is not addictive. Acts on both adults and larvae.drug Antichrushch
  6. “Bazudin”. The diazinon-based preparation has a long-lasting effect and is economical: a 30-gram sachet is enough to process 20 square meters. The product is mixed with sand in a liter jar and added a little under each bush or with a tuber when planting.drug Bazudin
  7. Vallar. The drug is diluted in water and the roots of the seedling are dipped in it before planting. Thus, the larva quickly dies when eating the roots..Vallar drug

To effectively combat the May beetle, it is necessary to use a set of plant protection measures. Better yet, combine protective measures with preventive ones. So, there is a high probability of bringing larvae to the site along with manure, because in the first year of life they feed on not rotted organic matter. Before applying manure to the beds, it is necessary to sift it to exclude the entry of the pest. If the beetle is found in neighboring areas, it is better to replace the manure with compost or liquid nettle fertilizer, which are guaranteed to contain no larvae. Compliance with all these measures will help protect your plantings and preserve the harvest..

Fighting beetle larvae – video

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