A network that helps people worldwide obtain rapid advice and information on crop protection, including the identification and management of plant pests.
PestNet is a network that helps people worldwide obtain rapid advice and information on crop protection, including the identification and management of plant pests. It started in 1999. Anyone with an interest in plant protection is welcome to join. PestNet is free and is moderated, ensuring that messages are confined to plant protection.
June 2011. A phytophagus ladybeetle on maize in Kenya sent for identification.
Members agreed that it was a member of the phytophagus subfamily Epilachninae of the ladybird beetle family Coccinellidae. Common genera are Epilachna and Henosepilachna. Most are on broadleaves: Solanaceae, Cucurbitaceae, etc., but damage to Poaceae (maize) has been reported. Larvae are usually more damaging than the adults.
A memeber from Ethjiopia suggested that the beetle was Epilachna similis, a beetle that in some years infests very large areas of small cereals like Teff (Eragrostis sp), wheat and barley (all graminae) in Ethiopia. Outbreaks are common particularly in drought years. Both adults and larvae cause the damage, feeding on the green part of the leaves. In severe attacks, the leaves dry out and the entier field looks as if at maturity.
A member from South Africa said that in her experience ladybeetles of this kind are not usually a pest of maize, or rather they rarely reach harmful numbers. There is information on the biology and life cycle that occurs in Africa at www.pestsandcrops.com; look under cucurbit pests.