Agronomy and Horticulture Department


Date of this Version



Published in the Journal of Entomological Sciences (2000) 35(4): 385-390. Copyright 2000, Georgia Entomological Society. Used by permission.


The bean leaf beetle, Cerotoma trifurcata (Forster) (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae), is a major insect pest of soybean in Nebraska and throughout much of the Midwest. This insect overwinters in the adult stage in litter in wooded areas such as shelterbelts. Historically, crop producers have been unsure of the merits of shelterbelts, especially if nearby crops are more likely to be infested by insect pests as a result. In this study, bean leaf beetle adults were sampled during the season by visually counting the number of beetles found on soybean plants early in the season and by sweep net sampling once plants were at the V4 stage (approximately 0.33 m tall). Sampling was done in 1997 and 1998 at the University of Nebraska Agricultural Research and Development Center in Saunders Co. in east-central Nebraska. Beetle counts were compared between shelterbelt-protected and -unprotected fields. In general. bean leaf beetles were more numerous in 1997 than in 1998, with abundance peaks occurring in late-July and early-September in both years. There were significant differences in bean leaf beetle counts from protected and unprotected fields on only three of the 11 and four of the 13 sampling dates in 1997 and 1998, respectively. On the sampling dates when significant differences were found, two of three in 1997 and three of four in 1998 had higher bean leaf beetle abundance in the protected soybean fields. The results of this study indicate a tendency for more bean leaf beetles in shelterbelt-protected soybean fields when differences are found, but beetle numbers were not significantly different between protected and unprotected fields on the majority of sample dates in the two years of this study. This study also reconfirms the presence of two generations of the bean leaf beetle in Nebraska.