Cereal Leaf Beetle


The cereal leaf beetle (Oulema melanopus), both in its adult beetle form and as larvae, can cause significant feeding damage that directly impacts a wheat plant's ability to produce carbohydrates through photosynthesis.

Adult beetles, which feed heavily on wheat crop leaves, leave behind elongated, brownish streaks known as "windowpane feeding." This feeding behavior directly affects the plant's ability to photosynthesize, compromising the plant’s overall health and leading to reduced grain yield.

Additionally, the larvae of cereal leaf beetles can cause even more harm by feeding on both the leaves and stems of wheat plants. This further weakens the plants, making them more susceptible to other pests and diseases.

It is crucial to take proactive measures to control and manage these pests to ensure the health and productivity of a wheat crop.

(Image Credit: Hania Berdys, Bugwood.org)


How to Identify Cereal Leaf Beetles

Adult beetles are approximately 4-5 mm long (about the size of a small grain of rice) with metallic blue-black wing covers that shimmer in the sunlight. One of the key features that sets them apart from other beetles is their distinct yellow-orange head and legs, which create a striking contrast against their dark body. This vibrant coloration makes them easily distinguishable, even from a distance.

Cereal leaf beetle larvae are slender and elongated, resembling tiny green worms. They have a yellowish-green body with a dark head capsule, giving them a unique appearance.

When scouting for cereal leaf beetles, keep an eye out for adult beetles actively feeding on the leaves, as they leave behind brown, distinct windowpane-like streaks. Also pay attention to the presence of larvae, which can be found feeding on both the leaves and stems of the wheat plants.

(Image Credit: Mourad Louadfel, Bugwood.org)

Regions Affected by Cereal Leaf Beetles

Cereal leaf beetle is commonly found in wheat-growing regions with a temperate climate, such as North America, Europe and Asia.

Timing of Cereal Leaf Beetle Infestations

Cereal leaf beetle infestations can occur at any point during the growing season, but they are most prevalent in the early season. The adult beetles emerge from their overwintering sites in the spring and immediately start feeding on wheat plants. As the season progresses, the larvae hatch and begin feeding, causing the most damage to wheat crops.

When attempting to control cereal leaf beetles, integrated pest management strategies are important in order to reduce the risk of future resistance. By implementing a holistic approach that combines chemical control with other strategies such as crop rotation, biological control, and cultural practices, farmers can achieve long-term success in managing cereal leaf beetle infestations.

Remember, the goal is not only to protect a wheat crop but also to maintain a healthy and balanced ecosystem on the farm.

However, some situations call for more aggressive strategies, including chemical solutions. Common insecticides to combat cereal leaf beetles contain active ingredients such as pyrethroids, neonicotinoids, or organophosphates, all of which have proven to be effective against the pest.

(Image Credit: Hania Berdys, Bugwood.org)

How to Manage Cereal Leaf Beetle Infestations

Consider treatment if there are three larvae per plant and/or three eggs per plant prior to the boot stage. After the boot stage, the economic threshold is one larva per flag leaf. 

If warranted, apply Willowood Lambda-Cy 1EC* at a rate of 2.56-3.84 fl oz/A. Repeat applications at intervals of five days or more, depending on insect populations.



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*Willowood Lambda-Cy 1EC is a restricted use pesticide.

*RESTRICTED USE PESTICIDE Due to acute toxicity. For retail sale to and use by certified applicators only – NOT to be used by uncertified persons working under the supervision of a certified applicator.

Every product that labels CEREAL LEAF BEETLE as a weed, pest, or disease the product can be applied against is shown below. Click any product for label and more information.
Annihilate™ LVAnnihilate™ LV InsecticideAnnihilate™ SPAnnihilate™ SP InsecticideBatallion™ 2 ECBatallion™ LFCBaythroid® XLBesiege® InsecticideBi-Dash 2EBifen 2 AG GoldBifen 25% ECBifender® FC InsecticideBifenthrin 2EC InsecticideBifenture® 10DFBifenture® ECBlackhawk® Naturalyte® Insect ControlBolton™BotaniGard® 22WPBotaniGard® 22WPBotaniGard® ESBotaniGard® ESBotaniGard® MaxxBoteGHA® ESBrigade® 2EC Insecticide/MiticideBrigade® WSB InsecticideCapture® 2EC-CALCapture® LFR®Cavalry™ IICheminova Malathion® 57%Chlorpyrifos 4E-AG (Drexel)Cobalt® AdvancedCobalt® InsecticideConsero®Consero® (Gamma-cyhalothrin)CrossoverCrossover® ProCrusader 2MECrusader® 1ECDanitol® 2.4 EC Spray Insecticide-MiticideDeclare® InsecticideDeclare® InsecticideDiflunateDimilin® 2LDimilin® 2LDiscipline® 2ECDurant 2LDurant™ 2 L IGRElevest™Endigo® ZCEndigo® ZCXEntrust® Naturalyte Insect ControlEntrust® SC Naturalyte Insect ControlEthos® XB Insecticide/FungicideFanfare® 2ECFanfare® ECFanfare® ESFastac® CS insecticideFastac™ EC insecticideFirestone™Frenzy AttackFrenzy VelozFyfanon®Fyfanon® 57% ECFyfanon® 8 lb. EmulsionFyfanon® ULV AGFyfanon® ULV AG (67760-35)GCS Bifenthrin 2ECGCS Bifenthrin LFCGovern® 4EGrandevo® WDGGrizzly® TooGrizzly® Z InsecticideHatchet® InsecticideHero® EWHero® InsecticideKaiso® 24 WGKarate® InsecticideKarate® with Zeon™ TechnologyKendo® 22.8 CSKendo™ InsecticideL - C InsecticideLambda TLambda-Cy AGLambda-Cy™ EC Insecticide-RUPLambdafos™ InsecticideLamcap® IILamcap™Lamdec™ InsecticideLancer® FCLancer™ 2ECLannate® LVLannate® LV InsecticideLannate® SPLannate® SPLanveer LV™Lorsban® 75 WGLorsban® Advanced InsecticideLorsban®-4E InsecticideMagnaphos® PlateMalathion 5Malathion 5ECMalathion 8 AquamulMalathion ULV® ConcentrateMatch-Up™ InsecticideMicromite® 2LMustang® InsecticideMustang® MaxxMycotrol® ESOMycotrol® ESOMycotrol® WPOMycotrol® WPONudrin® LVNudrin® SPNufarm Lambda-Cyhalothrin 1EC InsecticideNufos® 4E (RUP)Paradigm®Paradigm® VCPrev-AmProaxis® InsecticideProaxis® InsecticideProaxis™Province® IIProvince™Radiant® SC InsecticideRavage®Respect® EC insecticideRespect® insecticideReveal®Reveal® CAReveal® Endurx™Ridgeback™Seeker™ Insecticide with Isoclast™ ActiveSeguroSerpent™ 1 ECSilencer®Silencer® VXN™SlugbugSniper®Sniper® Helios®Sniper® LFR®SpinTor® 2SC Naturalyte® Insect ControlStallion® BrandSteed® InsecticideSuccess® Naturalyte® Insect ControlSultrus™Tailgunner™Tepera® PlusTepera® Plus HDTepera® Plus HDTide Diflubenzuron 2SCTombstone™Tombstone™ Helios®Tracer® Naturalyte® Insect ControlTundra® EC (1381-196)Tundra® SupremeUnforgivenVoliam Xpress®Voltage Endurx®Warhawk®Warhawk® ClearForm®Warrior II with Zeon Technology®Weevil-Cide® Gas BagsWeevil-Cide® PelletsWeevil-Cide® TabletsWhirlwind®Willowood Bifenthrin 2ECWillowood Lambda 1ECWillowood Lambda-Cy 1ECYuma® 4E