Pests in Wheat - In Crop
African black beetle
Constraint - African black beetle
Larvae are soil dwelling white 'curl grubs' that can reach 25 mm in length
Adults are shiny black and cylindrical, approximately 15mm long
Damage occurs during spring to early summer, and mid summer to autumn
Plant stems are ringbarked at or just below ground level, causing wilting and collapse
Damage is more probable to a crop following a kikuyu pasture
- Yield damage in wheat is very rare
If African black beetle is present, old pastures should be cultivated and fallowed or planted with a non host plant the season prior to planting wheat. The area should be kept fallow, if possible, immediately prior to planting crops especially during summer when larval stages are present. Healthy crops will require monitoring for a shorter period than crops that are under stress and growing slowly.
Links and Resources
DAFWA - African black beetle fact sheet
Plants damaged by African black beetle, description, lifecycle, similar insects, damage and loss, monitoring, and management options. Page last reviewed 2005.
DAFWA - African Black Beetle in vineyards
Introduction, description, look alike beetles, lifecycle, distribution, pest status, damage and loss, monitoring, and management.