The viburnum leaf beetle has come to Minnesota, the latest in a series of invasive insects to arrive in the state.
The state Department of Agriculture recently received its first report of the insect from an Eden Prairie resident. Larvae were collected and sent to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for official confirmation, and state officials learned last week that the insect was indeed a viburnum leaf beetle.
Since then, Agriculture Department officials have received a report of the insect in Burnsville and several other calls of possible sightings, said Angie Ambourn, supervisor of the department's Pest Detection Unit.
"I wouldn't be surprised if it was much more widespread than we know," she said. "We really don't know what we have yet. The beetle isn't like the emerald ash borer."
The viburnum leaf beetle, native to Europe, previously had been found in the northeastern United States and Wisconsin, said Ambourn.
The beetle has a distinctive eating pattern and feeds exclusively on species of viburnum, a common shrub found in thousands of Minnesota yards. The beetle can defoliate the plant, eventually weakening and killing it, she said.
The beetle's larvae are yellow to light brown, with black spots and dashes on their bodies. They chew holes in leaves in a pattern similar to that of Japanese beetles, she said. Adult insects lay eggs along the twigs in egg pits that are easily seen.
There are several ways to control the spread of the beetle, such as destroying infected twigs and by using pesticides.
To report a suspected beetle, send photos, location and other information to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-888-545-6684. .