Viburnum Leaf Beetle

Be on the lookout for the Viburnum Leaf Beetle, an extremely destructive pest. Pictured above are two rows of Viburnum at different stages of damage, one half eaten and the other completely defoliated!

We all love Viburnum for their sweet smell and their beautiful floral display in the Spring but unfortunately the Viburnum Leaf Beetle seems to love them even more.

Shown above is a single Viburnum leaf with 18 of the immature beetle larva feeding on it. The larva can range in color from yellowish green to a light/medium brown. Imagine how many must have been present in the photo of the completely defoliated Viburnum shown above.

This destructive Beetle loves certain varieties of Viburnum more than others but IF THEIR FAVORITE VARIETIES ARE LEFT UNTREATED FOR 2-3 YEARS, THEY WILL KILL THOSE PLANTS!

These insects emerge in May, retreat into the ground in mid to late June to pupate for 7 to 10 days and then re-emerge in July as adult beetles. At that point they resume feeding until Fall.

Tree Green’s treatment program consists of two to three well timed insecticide spray applications with quality insecticides. In addition, we rotate insecticide choices as insects will develop a tolerance and resistance to repeated use of the same products. Insect and fungus control can be quite complicated.

Just today, we heard from a client who saw the damage starting this past weekend and tried to treat himself with insecticidal soap. I’m sure he won’t mind us relaying his story to help protect and warn others. He got the product in his eyes and had to go to the hospital emergency room. If you only have a single bush that you want to try to treat yourself – be very careful. In their pure form, these products burn skin and eyes and put off vapors that shouldn’t be inhaled.

There are several varieties of Viburnum and we realize many of you may not know whether you have Viburnum or not so we recommend the following:

Keep an eye on your shrubs! If you see bushes that are thinning or browning, look at the damaged leaves and compare them to the photo shown earlier with the little critters all over it. If you see similar damage, call us! We can stop them in their tracks this year and more importantly, prevent their damage next year and beyond.

For the record, this is what a healthy, free-standing Viburnum looks like. It is a spectacular plant, so keep a wary eye!