Viburnum Leaf Beetle—Pyrrhalta viburni

The viburnum leaf beetle is native to Europe and has become a serious pest of viburnum plantings and nursery stock in the Northeast United States. Both the larvae and adult feed voraciously on the foliage; heavy infestations can defoliate shrubs, cause dieback, and eventually kill plants. Viburnums include cranberrybush, hobblebush, arrowwood, nannyberry and snowball bush.

heavy defoliation on viburn due to viburnum leaf beetle larval feeding
Ornamental shrub (Viburnum sp.) with heavy defoliation due to larval feeding damage (in May) in central New York.

leaves showing adult chew pattern by viburnum leaf beetles
Adult beetles chew oblong shot holes into the leaves. Typically the first leaves to show damage are low on the plant with the feeding damage  extending to the upper leaves as the year progresses.

twig with viburnum leaf beetle egg sites
Beetles damage twigs with egg sites. These first appear as a row of deep rounded cavities, later appearing as small cankers. Usually found on current year's growth. One female can lay up to 500 eggs.

viburnum leaf beetle adult
Adult beetles are about 1/5 inch long, brown with filamentous antennae.

viburnum leaf beetle first instar larva
First instar larva–usually found in groups feeding on the undersides of leaves.

viburnum leaf beetle second and third instar larva
Second and third instar larva feeding on foliage–the leaf beetle larvae have a characteristic feeding habit of eating the foliage along the leaf veins, leaving skeletonized leaves.

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Identification and Control Information

[Photos, left to right: E. Richard Hoebeke, Cornell University,; Paul Weston, Cornell University,; Paul Weston, Cornell University,; Paul Weston, Cornell University,; Paul Weston, Cornell University,]