Kansas State University


Extension Entomology

Month: June 2020


–by Dr. Jeff Whitworth


Carpenter bees (sometimes called mason bees) have been very active in northcentral /northeast Kansas over the last couple of weeks. These bees are not usually noticed for 51 weeks each year. But, then in late May to early July (depending upon the weather) , the adults (fig. 1) start emerging from holes in soft ,older wooden structures such as old barns, fences, decks, railings, eaves, etc., any wood that has been neglected, are the usual sites of carpenter bee nests.

Figure 1 Adult Carpenter Bees (pictures by Glenn Phelps)


The males most often emerge 1st and hover around the area waiting for females to emerge. These males have “bald” faces (female faces are all black) and it is these males that usually get people’s attention because they are very territorial and willing “dive bomb” any intruders into “their” area, including people and pets. However, these males are harmless as only the females can sting. Carpenter bees do NOT eat wood, the female’s just tunnel into it to hollow out cells for their young, which are grub-like (fig. 2).

Figure 2 Carpenter Bee Adults and Larvae (Glenn Phelps)

These larvae develop inside these little cells (fig. 3)–created and provisioned with food by the females in the summer/ early fall. These grubs develop throughout the rest of the fall/winter and spring until they pupate and then emerge as adults the following May-July to start the cycle all over again.


Figure 3 Cells created in the wood (Glenn Phelps)

Celebrate National Pollinator Week

–by Frannie Miller


Did you know that June 22 – 28, 2020 is National Pollinator Week. Fun fact is beetles pollinated the first flowers more than 140 million years ago. It is estimated that more than 200,000 animal species serve as pollinators. Insects pollinate our crops and help provide one in every three bites of food. Without them we wouldn’t have chocolate or many other vegetables, fruit such as strawberries, apples or grapes, seeds, and nuts.

What can you do to help make sure the pollinators are around to do their job? Examples may include:

*Create a backyard pollinator garden

*Volunteer to help create a pollinator garden at a local school

*Reduce or eliminate the use of pesticides

*Don’t spray directly on flowers

*Plant pollinator friendly plants such as natives or milkweeds

*Support local bees and beekeepers

*Give bees a nesting place

*Provide a water source for pollinators.

ID to last week’s bug

–by Frannie Miller


Golden dung fly – The golden dung fly is one of the most abundant and familiar flies. These flies can be found on the feces of large mammals, such as cattle, horses, sheep, deer, and feral hogs. They are extremely important in the natural decomposition of feces. These insects have a short life-cycle and are susceptible to experimental variables making them important to science.


–by Dr. Jeff Whitworth

Adult bean leaf beetles are very active throughout north central Kansas at the present time. They typically chew round/oblong holes in leaves (note fig. 4 with bean leaf beetle at the tip of the arrow) and deposit eggs in the soil around the base of soybean plants. There are two color phases of adult bean leaf beetles (fig 5), a tan phase and a reddish phase, but both have six black spots surrounded by a black border on their backs. Both color types can be seen in fig 5.

Figure 4 Soybean leaf damage from beetles (Cody Wyckoff)

Figure 5 Bean leaf beetles (Cody Wyckoff)


–by Dr. Jeff Whitworth

Just FYI: This photo (fig. 3) is of a click beetle. Wireworms are the larval stage- and after they pupate in the soil, they emerge as an adult, which looks nothing like the wireworm. There are several species of wireworms (click beetles) in Kansas, and the one pictured is one of the more common species, all of which are usually well controlled by insecticide seed treatments. However, these seed treatments generally do not offer seed/seedling protection 21-28 days after the seeds were planted.

Figure 3 Click beetle (Cody Wyckoff)



–by Dr. Jeff Whitworth

Western corn rootworm (WCR) larvae are voraciously feeding on corn roots (see fig 1) and thus continuing to grow and develop as seen in fig 2.  The WCR larva on the right, in this photo, was collected on 3 June 2020, while the ones on the left were collected from the same field on 17 June 2020.

Figure 1: WCR emerging from root (Cody Wyckoff)

Figure 2: WCR larvae (Cody Wyckoff)


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