Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for the Cereal Leaf Beetle in Washington State

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for the Cereal Leaf Beetle in Washington State

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Diana Roberts, Regional Extension Specialist, WSU Spokane/Lincoln Counties, Spokane, WA, Darrin Walenta, Extension Agronomist, Oregon State University Extension, Union/Baker/Wallowa Counties, La Grande, OR
This bulletin describes how to identify the cereal leaf beetle (Oulema melanopus) and discusses its biology. Scouting techniques and economic thresholds are outlined, along with cultural management methods and optimal times to apply insecticide, if needed. It also discusses the most effective method of control—biocontrol using wasps that only parasitize and kill the cereal leaf beetle. Growers may encourage these free biocontrol agents to multiply in their fields by maintaining a simple insectary. Worksheets and a decision chart are included to help integrate all the decision processes.
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The cereal leaf beetle (CLB), Oulema melanopus, (Co­leoptera, Chrysomelidae), is a pest of cereal grains, grass forage/seed crops, and other grass-host species in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) region (Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana). In Washington, the CLB has caused yield losses of 25% in spring wheat (Pike and Gould 2002).

Integrated pest management (IPM) for the CLB should begin with positive pest identification and field scouting to determine infestation rates. Cul­tural management methods and the use of biological control agents are possible ways to minimize the use of insecticides.

Distribution of the CLB

The CLB is native to Europe and Asia. The first of­ficial record of the CLB in the United States is from southwestern Michigan in 1962 (Castro and Guyer 1963). The insect is now widespread across the east­ern and Midwestern states and into Canada. The CLB was first found in Washington State in 1999. As of 2011, the CLB now infests 19 Washington counties (Figure 1). (Consult the National Agricultural Pest Information System (NAPIS) website for up-to-date distribution maps at

Figure 1. Washington counties with established cereal leaf beetle infestations, plus locations of insectaries for the T. julis parasitoid wasp (labeled with their highest recorded seasonal parasitism levels) (Roberts et al. 2010).



Copyright 2012 Washington State University

Published November, 2012

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