Invasive beetle found in Minnesota for the first time

The beetle weakens and eventually kills viburnum plants.
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Viburnum beetle

An invasive beetle that attacks virburnum plants has been confirmed in Minnesota for the first time.

The Minnesota DNR says the virburnum leaf beetle somehow "hitched a ride from outside Minnesota" and found its way to the Twin Cities.

"We may never know exactly how it got here," said Angie Ambourn, Supervisor of the MDA’s Pest Detection Unit. "Unfortunately, this is yet another example of the ease at which invasive insects, plants, and diseases can quickly spread throughout the U.S. and the world."

The beetle in question was found in Eden Prairie, with a resident noticing them feeding on arrowwood virburnum leaves in June.

The viburnum leaf beetle is yellow to light brown, with black spots and dashes on their bodies.

It's an invasive insect native to Europe but up until now has only been found in the northeastern U.S. and Wisconsin, feeding exclusively on varieties of the viburnum flowering plant.

It defoliates the plant initially, weakening it to the point that it eventually can die.

As well as chewing holes in the leaves, the adults also lay eggs along the twigs in "egg pits that are easily seen with the naked eye."

Viburnum beetle

The spread can be controlled by selecting viburnum varieties residents to the insect, as well as pruning and destroying infested twigs.

"It’s important that we get an understanding of where this insect may be in Minnesota and how big of an issue this is to homeowners,” said Ambourn, with the DNR wanting residents to call send in photos and locations to arrest.the.pest@state.mn.us, or by calling 1-888-545-6684).

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