Home / Leaf Beetles (Chrysomelidae) / Viburnum Leaf Beetle (Pyrrhalta viburni)

Viburnum Leaf Beetle (Pyrrhalta viburni)

Viburnum leaf beetle belongs to the leaf beetle (Chrysomelidae) family and is indigenous to Asia, Europe, parts of the United States, and Canada. It gets its name from the viburnum plant on which it preys upon.

This species was spotted for the first time in 1947, in Canada’s Ontario region. However, specimens were collected as early as in1924 in Novas Scotia’s Annapolis Royal town. In New York, it was first sighted in a park, where it had caused heavy damage to the arrowwood (Viburnum dentatum) plants growing there.

Viburnum Leaf Beetle

Scientific Classification

  • Family: Chrysomelidae
  • Genus: Pyrrhalta
  • Scientific name: Pyrrhalta viburni

Physical Description & Identification

Adult

Size: 4.5 – 6 mm (0.17 – 0.23 inches)

Color: Most of the viburnum beetle’s body, head, elytra, and thorax is yellowish-brown except the front portion that appears dark brown. The short golden hairs covering the dorsal region, in particular, are about 5 mm (0.19 inches) long.

Viburnum Beetle

Larva

The larva, about 1 – 2mm (0.03 – 0.07 inches) long, has a yellowish-green or light brown body with black dashes and lines all over. They grow to about 10 -11 mm (0.39 – 0.43 inches) upon maturation, attaining a sub-cylindrical shape. While the young larva feeds on the undersides of the soft leaves, the older ones mostly eat the top parts.

Viburnum Leaf Beetle Larvae

Pupa

The pupa, bright yellow at the onset, reaches about 6 – 8 mm (0.25 – 0.31 inches). However, they mostly remain hidden below the soil and are barely visible.  The entire pupal stage lasts for about ten days.

Viburnum Leaf Beetle Pupa

Egg

The ball-shaped eggs with a yellowish-brown to brown coloration are about 1/6th inches in diameter. They are laid in clusters and remain covered with frass.

Viburnum Leaf Beetle Eggs

Quick Facts

Other NamesViburnum beetle
LifespanNot recorded
DistributionThroughout Europe, Asia, eastern Canada, northeastern United States including certain parts of  New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Maine, Pennsylvania, Vermont
HabitatWherever viburnum plants grow
Common PredatorsSpined soldier bug
Seasons most active inLarvae: April – June
Adults: July – August
Host PlantsViburnum
Diet  of larvae and adultsViburnum plants, mostly arrowwood viburnum, Rafinesque viburnum, sardent viburnum, snowball bush viburnum, viburnum tinus, and nannyberry viburnum
Pyrrhalta viburni

Identifying the Damage Caused By Them

The larvae chew holes in the viburnum leaves, reducing them to a lace-like pattern. This feeding damage pattern of theirs closely resembles that of the Japanese beetle.

Viburnum Leaf Beetle Damage

The adult species start feeding between late June and early July mostly making oblong holes in the leaves.

A severe infestation could defoliate the shrubs, weakening the plant eventually, causing it to wither and die.

Viburnum Leaf Beetle Images

Did You Know

  • The Royal Horticultural Society of the United Kingdom in 2010 ranked it first among the pest species. 
  • The spined soldier bug is often used to check the viburnum beetle’s numbers, being an important biological control agent.
Picture of Viburnum Leaf Beetle

Image Source: hort.extension.wisc.edu, nantucketconservation.org, oregonstate.edu, arthropodafotos.de, hort.extension.wisc.edu, arthropodafotos.de, thompson-morgan.com, lh3.googleusercontent.com

Viburnum leaf beetle belongs to the leaf beetle (Chrysomelidae) family and is indigenous to Asia, Europe, parts of the United States, and Canada. It gets its name from the viburnum plant on which it preys upon.

This species was spotted for the first time in 1947, in Canada’s Ontario region. However, specimens were collected as early as in1924 in Novas Scotia’s Annapolis Royal town. In New York, it was first sighted in a park, where it had caused heavy damage to the arrowwood (Viburnum dentatum) plants growing there.

Viburnum Leaf Beetle

Physical Description & Identification

Adult

Size: 4.5 – 6 mm (0.17 – 0.23 inches)

Color: Most of the viburnum beetle’s body, head, elytra, and thorax is yellowish-brown except the front portion that appears dark brown. The short golden hairs covering the dorsal region, in particular, are about 5 mm (0.19 inches) long.

Viburnum Beetle

Larva

The larva, about 1 – 2mm (0.03 – 0.07 inches) long, has a yellowish-green or light brown body with black dashes and lines all over. They grow to about 10 -11 mm (0.39 – 0.43 inches) upon maturation, attaining a sub-cylindrical shape. While the young larva feeds on the undersides of the soft leaves, the older ones mostly eat the top parts.

Viburnum Leaf Beetle Larvae

Pupa

The pupa, bright yellow at the onset, reaches about 6 – 8 mm (0.25 – 0.31 inches). However, they mostly remain hidden below the soil and are barely visible.  The entire pupal stage lasts for about ten days.

Viburnum Leaf Beetle Pupa

Egg

The ball-shaped eggs with a yellowish-brown to brown coloration are about 1/6th inches in diameter. They are laid in clusters and remain covered with frass.

Viburnum Leaf Beetle Eggs

Quick Facts

Other NamesViburnum beetle
LifespanNot recorded
DistributionThroughout Europe, Asia, eastern Canada, northeastern United States including certain parts of  New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Maine, Pennsylvania, Vermont
HabitatWherever viburnum plants grow
Common PredatorsSpined soldier bug
Seasons most active inLarvae: April – June
Adults: July – August
Host PlantsViburnum
Diet  of larvae and adultsViburnum plants, mostly arrowwood viburnum, Rafinesque viburnum, sardent viburnum, snowball bush viburnum, viburnum tinus, and nannyberry viburnum
Pyrrhalta viburni

Identifying the Damage Caused By Them

The larvae chew holes in the viburnum leaves, reducing them to a lace-like pattern. This feeding damage pattern of theirs closely resembles that of the Japanese beetle.

Viburnum Leaf Beetle Damage

The adult species start feeding between late June and early July mostly making oblong holes in the leaves.

A severe infestation could defoliate the shrubs, weakening the plant eventually, causing it to wither and die.

Viburnum Leaf Beetle Images

Did You Know

  • The Royal Horticultural Society of the United Kingdom in 2010 ranked it first among the pest species. 
  • The spined soldier bug is often used to check the viburnum beetle’s numbers, being an important biological control agent.
Picture of Viburnum Leaf Beetle

Image Source: hort.extension.wisc.edu, nantucketconservation.org, oregonstate.edu, arthropodafotos.de, hort.extension.wisc.edu, arthropodafotos.de, thompson-morgan.com, lh3.googleusercontent.com

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