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The identification and life cycle of the bean leaf beetle are discussed along with scouting techniques, economic thresholds, and cultural control tactics.
The bean leaf beetle is a common insect found in Nebraska soybean fields. The insect also feeds on peas, snap beans, and dry beans. Although present in alfalfa and sweet clover in the early spring before soybean emerges, the insect is not known to damage either legume.
Use integrated pest management (IPM) when planning how to reduce bean leaf beetle damage. Integrated pest management is a sustainable approach to managing pests by combining biological, cultural, physical, and chemical tools in a way that minimizes economic, health, and environmental risks. Economic risks can be minimized by using approved bean leaf beetle scouting techniques and economic thresholds to make management decisions. Health risks can be minimized by avoiding pesticide use and by following all safety directions provided on pesticide labels when chemical intervention is needed. Environmental risks can be minimized by avoiding pesticide use when possible and by following all environmental or wildlife safety guidelines provided on the pesticide label when pesticides must be used. Information on planting date effects and new economic thresholds will aid in bean leaf beetle management.