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Darkling beetle Scientific Name is Blapstinus spp. There are 100 species in the Estern United States.
Darkling beetle adults range from 0.12 to 0.25 inch (3-6 mm) long and are about half as wide. They are dirty black to rusty brown in color, but this may be obscured by dust or a thin layer of soil. Larvae are very similar to wireworms in appearance. larva averages an inch in length. They have a tough yellowish brown exoskeleton and are cylindrical.
The beetles and larvae eat decaying leaves, sticks, grasses and occasionally new plant growth. As general decomposers, they also eat dead insects, feces and stored grains. Mealworms live in areas surrounded by what they eat under rocks, and logs, in animal burrows and in stored grains. They clean up after plants and animals, and therefore can be found anywhere where â€śleftoversâ€ť occur.
Life Cycle: Adult beetles reproduce sexually and lay eggs, each of which contains a beetle embryo. Beetle larvae, called mealworms, hatch out of the eggs. The larvae grow for several months, periodically shedding their exoskeletons in a process known as molting. Once the larvae are big enough, they enter the pupa stage. Beetles do not eat or move while in the pupa stage, which lasts up to 18 days. When the organism emerges from the pupa stage, it is the adult form of the Darkling Beetle and will live for up to 3 months.
DAMAGE Beetle adults girdle or cut off seedlings at or below the soil surface, and are mostly active at night. After plants reach a height of 4 to 6 inches, darkling beetles are usually not a problem. Darkling beetles sometimes invade cotton from grain fields, weedy areas, or from adjacent alfalfa.
Darkling Beetle Larvae
Beetles have been found to be a source of transmission for Salmonella,Darkling beetles not only spread disease.One of its larval stages damages wood structures and insulation.Marekâ€™s Disease,E. coli, Infectious Bursal Disease, Newcastle Disease,Clostridium and numerous other diseases. Chicks and poults consume beetles, exposing them to a direct inoculation of diseases. A good biosecurity plan should include measures for beetle control.
Control:Watch for darkling beetle injury by walking the field during the seedling stage. Pay special attention to field edges and any low or weedy areas. Currently there are no bait products registered for control of darkling beetles in cotton.
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