Pest of the Month – Sap Beetle

Pest of the Month - Sap Beetle

Sap beetles are often considered minor pests, but the presence of large numbers of sap beetles on a host plant can prove economic in terms of crop damage caused by the feeding beetles. Impact on crop value is primarily due to the contamination of products ready for sale by adults and larvae. Sap beetles have also been recognized as vectors of fungi.

Adult sap beetles are small and vary in size from a ¼-inch or less up to a ½-inch. The end of the antennae are clubbed, which aids in their recognition. The surface of the wing covers are usually dimpled uniformly with minute punctures. Color is usually brown to black. The larvae of all genera are white with a light-brown head and have three pairs of small thoracic legs.

Survival And Spread

Sap beetles are characterized by a rather short larval development and comparatively long-lived adults. Pests have demonstrated a wide range of feeding habits. Sap beetles of agricultural importance such as the dusky sap beetle, corn sap beetle, and strawberry sap beetle have increased in number with the expansion in production of suitable crop hosts in Florida.

These pest species generally feed on fruits and other plant parts that are ripening or decomposing. Sap beetles cause both direct and indirect damage through their feeding activity. Feeding by primary insect pests such as the corn ear worm often provides entry sites for sap beetles. The strawberry sap beetle attacks ripe, nearly ripe, or decaying strawberry fruit by boring into the berry and is also a concern because of contamination of ripe fruit by beetles and possibly larvae. High populations may result in the spread of mycotoxin-producing fungi, which warrants control.

Management

Field sanitation is an important means of control. Sweet corn, tomatoes, melons, berries, and other produce should be harvested immediately upon ripening. Damaged, diseased, and overripe fruits and vegetables should be removed from fields at regular intervals. Such material should be destroyed, or, if buried, should be buried deep below the soil.

Chemical treatment is recommended for the control of sap beetles in Florida. Several products are registered for use on corn and strawberries.

Research has shown that sap beetles are strongly attracted to certain volatile plant compounds in ripening or decaying fruits, producing pheromones that elicit an aggregating behavior. Baits using such material can be effective in trapping and monitoring sap beetle populations and help determine when treatment is necessary. Pesticides may also be incorporated in baits to trap incoming sap beetles.

Tight, long-husked, sweet corn varieties are more resistant to corn earworms and the beetle itself. Biocontrol research is ongoing, and an entomopathic nematode and a parasitic wasp have shown promise in some trials against specific species.

Leave a Reply

One comment on “Pest of the Month – Sap Beetle

  1. after 10 years of growing melons in alachua fl with no incidents of this kind, we are being hammered with what i think is a type of sap beetle [i am going to look closer and try and confirm tomorrow]. Loses in French Orange are at 100%, canary at about 50%, regular lopes not sure yet. Fruit being hit before maturity, small bore hole and rotten on the inside. Considering I've never noticed this pest before, the level of infestation is shocking.

Citrus Stories
Citrus
September 19, 2017
Precision in Specialty Crops Gains Momentum
Here are some of the key drivers that may transform your farm in the years ahead. Read More
Neo 1 hops at UF/IFAS MREC
Citrus
September 19, 2017
Hopes High for Hops Fresh From Florida
When it comes to alternative crop solutions, something good is brewing in the Sunshine State. Do you have what it takes to tap in? Read More
Winter melon damage from Hurricane Irma in Elkton, FL
Citrus
September 15, 2017
Help Extended to Hurricane-Weary Farmers Dealing With Disaster
USDA chief grants extra time and special procedures to document and file claims. Read More
raindrops in standing water
Citrus
September 13, 2017
New Guidance on FSMA Ag Water Compliance, Water Testing, and Farm Inspections Announced
FDA issued a rule to extend compliance dates for agricultural water and announced a start date for farm inspections. Read More
Packinghouse damage from Irma at SWFREC in Immokalee
Citrus
September 13, 2017
Florida Farmers Digging out From Impacts of Irma
Damage reports starting to flood in from the field following monster storm, and it's not pretty. Read More
Biocontrols Conference
September 11, 2017
The Grower’s Take: Citrus, HLB, and Biological Control
Uncle Matt’s Organic orange juice brand has enjoyed steady growth since its 2002 inception. The brand’s success is due to Read More
Citrus
September 7, 2017
Summer News Stories that Have Growers Talking
Farming has been in the media spotlight this year. I asked each of this month’s columnists and contributors for their Read More
Citrus
September 7, 2017
Whose Sustainable Standard Wins?
Retailers’ race to win the most sustainable produce prize leaves growers trying to keep up with fast-developing demands. Read More
Citrus
September 7, 2017
Improving Water Management: Can Silicon Valley Help?
Though very much-needed, technological solutions must be cost-effective and industry appropriate. Read More
Florida oranges
Citrus
August 31, 2017
Extra Early Florida Citrus Forecast Calling For Sunshine
Marked increase in production predicted for the next crop of oranges. Read More
Citrus
August 30, 2017
How Harvey May Impact Specialty Crop Growers
The devastating human toll from Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey has rightly dominated news coverage. Growers and those who work with them, however, should also think about how this historic storm will also affect them.  Read More
Insect & Disease Update
August 28, 2017
California Extends Citrus Quarantine
A 94-square mile area of San Bernardino, Riverside counties now a part of state huanglongbing quarantine. Read More
Strawberry fieldworker in Florida
Citrus
August 28, 2017
Specialty Crop Concern Feeds Need to Negotiate NAFTA Now
Although trade talk objectives may not deliver the short-term relief for Florida fruit and vegetable growers, they appear on the right track. Read More
Cannabis plant closeup
Citrus
August 28, 2017
3 More Florida Growers Given Green Light to Cultivate Medicinal Cannabis
Once exclusive enterprise continues to expand for more seeking to engage alternative crop endeavor. Read More
multiple hands holding a plate full of veggies
Citrus
August 27, 2017
USDA Releases Software to Help Small Operations with Food Safety Plans
While the free tool was primarily designed for use by small firms, any size manufacturer can opt to use it. Read More
The Latest
Citrus
September 22, 2017
When it Comes to Growing, Florida Farmer…
Let's raise a toast to the bold producers and researchers who are taking our industry beyond previously perceived crop viability boundaries to places once figured forbidden. Read More
Citrus
September 21, 2017
Hurricane Relief Fund Launched for Flori…
Money raised will benefit Redlands Christian Migrant Association’s efforts to aid families in need. Read More
Citrus
September 19, 2017
Precision in Specialty Crops Gains Momen…
Here are some of the key drivers that may transform your farm in the years ahead. Read More
Citrus
September 19, 2017
Hopes High for Hops Fresh From Florida
When it comes to alternative crop solutions, something good is brewing in the Sunshine State. Do you have what it takes to tap in? Read More
Citrus
September 15, 2017
Help Extended to Hurricane-Weary Farmers…
USDA chief grants extra time and special procedures to document and file claims. Read More
Citrus
September 13, 2017
New Guidance on FSMA Ag Water Compliance…
FDA issued a rule to extend compliance dates for agricultural water and announced a start date for farm inspections. Read More
Citrus
September 13, 2017
Florida Farmers Digging out From Impacts…
Damage reports starting to flood in from the field following monster storm, and it's not pretty. Read More
Biocontrols Conference
September 11, 2017
The Grower’s Take: Citrus, HLB, and Biol…
Uncle Matt’s Organic orange juice brand has enjoyed steady growth since its 2002 inception. The brand’s success is due to Read More
Citrus
September 7, 2017
Summer News Stories that Have Growers Ta…
Farming has been in the media spotlight this year. I asked each of this month’s columnists and contributors for their Read More
Citrus
September 7, 2017
Whose Sustainable Standard Wins?
Retailers’ race to win the most sustainable produce prize leaves growers trying to keep up with fast-developing demands. Read More
Citrus
September 7, 2017
Improving Water Management: Can Silicon …
Though very much-needed, technological solutions must be cost-effective and industry appropriate. Read More
Citrus
August 31, 2017
Extra Early Florida Citrus Forecast Call…
Marked increase in production predicted for the next crop of oranges. Read More
Citrus
August 30, 2017
How Harvey May Impact Specialty Crop Gro…
The devastating human toll from Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey has rightly dominated news coverage. Growers and those who work with them, however, should also think about how this historic storm will also affect them.  Read More
Citrus
August 28, 2017
Specialty Crop Concern Feeds Need to Neg…
Although trade talk objectives may not deliver the short-term relief for Florida fruit and vegetable growers, they appear on the right track. Read More
Citrus
August 28, 2017
3 More Florida Growers Given Green Light…
Once exclusive enterprise continues to expand for more seeking to engage alternative crop endeavor. Read More
Citrus
August 27, 2017
USDA Releases Software to Help Small Ope…
While the free tool was primarily designed for use by small firms, any size manufacturer can opt to use it. Read More
Citrus
August 25, 2017
Transcending Farm Labor Crisis No Easy T…
Technology could be on cusp of fixing labor problems for growers of crops that are traditionally hand harvested. Read More
Citrus
August 25, 2017
California EPA Seeking to Review Chlorpy…
Department of Pesticide Regulation, Office of Environmental Health pursuing health protections. Read More