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Bumble Flower Beetle

Bumble Flower Beetle, Euphoria inda (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae), is found throughout most of the states east of the Rocky Mountains.

Bumble Flower Beetle

Bumble Flower Beetle

Adult bumble flower beetles are 12-16 mm (7/16 – 5/8 inch) in length and 8-10 mm (5/16-3/8 inch) wide. They have yellowish-brown or cinnamon-colored elytra with irregular longitudinal rows of small black spots, many of which may be rectangular. The head and thorax are densely hairy, as is the underside of the body, the latter being clothed with numerous white hairs.

Legs are a reddish-brown color. When captured, adults may emit a defensive chemical with a pungent chlorine-like odor. Bumble flower beetles are widely distributed in the United States and may be found from connecticut to Florida and westward to Oregon and Arizona. Literature records indicate their occurrence in most other western states.

Life Cycle : The over wintering stage is the adult beetle which burrows into the soil for cover during the fall. In spring the beetles emerge, mate and females seek sites of moist decaying organic matter to lay eggs. Horse or cattle manure, rotten wood, and other moist, decaying plant matter are common sites for egg laying. The C-shaped grubs feed almost exclusively on these materials, although they have been known to chew roots of container grown shrubs that were growing in organic matter-rich media. When full grown the larvae tamp out earthen chambers in which they pupate.

Bumble Flower Beetle

Bumble Flower Beetle

The adults emerge a few weeks later and can be found from mid-summer into early fall. The adult beetles feed on a wide variety of sweet or fermenting liquids. They are commonly attracted in late summer to the bacterial ooze produced by infection of many trees, sometimes massing in large numbers on trunks or branches in late summer. They are also attracted to ripening corn, and ripe or overripe apples, grapes, melons, peaches. The pollen and nectar of flowers such as sunflower, strawflower, thistles and daylily are also eaten by the adults. With cold weather they move into the soil for over wintering. There is one generation produced per year.

DamageAdult bumble flower beetles are reported to injure corn in the milk stage although this problem is seldom if ever reported in Utah. Such damage can be severe but is usually limited to local areas. They also feed on flowers, ripe fruits such as apples, pears, peaches, and grapes and on sap exuding from tree wounds. The adult beetles are attracted to fermenting sugar baits.

They may be found feeding on injured fruit or vegetables. One of the most common situations where the adult beetles are found is in association with bacterial slime fluxes on willows and poplars. The beetles are attracted to the sap exudations and fermentation that occur with these infections. At least in Utah, bumble flower beetles are secondary pests of minor importance. since they primarily feed on sap exudations, specific control is usually not required or recommended. Instead, control measures should be directed at eliminating the cause of the sap flow.

Bumble Flower Beetle Larvae

Bumble Flower Beetle Larvae

The adult beetles are not injurious to trees in this situation, and it is questionable whether they should even be considered pests. If bumble flower beetles are damaging corn or fruit, removal of accumulations of decaying organic matter from the vicinity of the crop should provide some degree of control. There are no insecticides specifically recommended for control of bumble flower beetles on corn or fruit, but insecticides registered for the control of other chewing pests would probably be effective.

In our region, chemical control should seldom, if ever, be necessary. Larvae of the bumble flower beetle may be damaging in some situations when they disturb soil near the roots of trees or plants. Given the habits of the larvae, control measures would be best directed at the adult stage or at eliminating suitable habitats for the larvae by reducing the amount of organic matter present.

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