Kansas State University


Extension Entomology

Tag: pupal stage

European Elm Flea Weevil

–by Dr. Raymond Cloyd


We are seeing damage on elm (Ulmus spp.) trees caused by the larval stage of the European elm flea weevil (Orchestes alni). Larvae are cream-colored, legless (Figure 1),

Figure 1. European elm flea weevil larva

and found in the mines of leaves. Adults are 3.0 mm in length, red-brown in color with black spots or markings on the abdomen or wing covers (Figure 2).

Figure 2. Adult European elm flea weevil.


The mouthpart is shaped-like a snout (Figure 3)


Figure 3. European elm flea weevil adult (note the snout-like mouth)

since they are weevils and the hind legs are thickened and enlarged, which allows the adults to jump when disturbed. Adults are initially active in May, and after mating, females lay eggs in the large mid-veins of new leaves. Eggs hatch into larvae that tunnel through the leaf as they feed (which is occurring now), creating serpentine-like mines that enlarge as larvae mature (Figure 4).

Figure 4. Serpentine mines created by European elm flea weevil larvae.

Larvae eventually transition into a pupal stage, and then adults emerge in May and June. Adults primarily feed on leaf undersides creating small holes on young leaves (Figure 5).

Figure 5. Feeding damage caused by European elm flea weevil adult.


The feeding damage caused by both the larvae and adults will not kill an elm tree; however, extensive feeding may ruin the aesthetic appearance. Adults overwinter under loose bark and in leaf litter under previously infested trees. There is one generation per year in Kansas. Nearly all elm species are susceptible to feeding by the European elm flea weevil especially Siberian elms (Ulmus pumila) and certain elm hybrids with Asian parentage.

Management of European elm flea weevil involves maintaining proper tree health by means of watering, mulching, pruning, and fertilizing. Insecticides may be used to minimize damage; however, insecticides may be difficult to apply to large trees. Insecticides must be applied in May and June in order to suppress adult populations. A number of insecticides may be used including: acephate (Orthene), imidacloprid (Merit), or carbaryl (Sevin). However, if damage is not extensive, especially on large trees, then there be no rationale for using insecticides. For more information regarding European elm flea weevil management contact your county or state extension specialist.






Feeding Capabilities/Capacities of Caterpillars – Useful Information for Bagworm Control

–by Dr. Bob Bauernfeind

The following basic developmental sequence is applicable to caterpillars regardless their species.

Beginning at egg hatch as a 1st instar larva, a caterpillar progresses through a series of developmental instars until such time it has matured, after which it ceases feeding when ready to transform into its pupal stage. In this sequence as determined under controlled conditions, the variegated cutworm consumed 442.2 mg of artificial diet. Only a small portion (27%) of the diet was consumed through the first 6 instars. In real situations where larvae feed on plant foliage, “nibblings” go unnoticed and are inconsequential. People usually first become aware of the presence of foraging caterpillars as foliage rapidly disappears when caterpillars ravenously feed midway-towards-the-end of their final “chow hound” instar. The last instar consumed 73% of the total diet.

4-VCUT DEV - jpg

How can this information be applied to bagworm control? In the following sequence, in Weeks 1 – 5, under the green “safe” line, bags and bagworms are small. At 6 and 7 weeks, they become larger but remain under the yellow “still safe” line. Beginning at weeks 8 and 9, we have the orangish “amber alert” line. To this point, ALL ARE NIBBLERS! In weeks 10 and 11, we are under the red “danger” line as the bagworms now are into their “CHOWHOUND MODE”!

5-bagworm sequance.jpg

When bagworms hatch in any given year, the hatching period occurs over a 4 to 5 week period typically beginning in mid-to late May. While it is informative to know when bagworm activities begin, that should not signal the beginning of automatic weekly spray treatments. Rather, a single thorough treatment (with a contact insecticide) applied at the end of June into the first 10-14 days of July should suffice. I enlarged and bolded thorough to emphasize the importance of not merely hastily-applying a light spritzy/misty spray treatment. While such might eliminate bagworms on the periphery of a tree/shrub, bagworm populations located in the more dense inner regions will be least affected. And as insecticide residues dissipate/degrade on the outer foliage, the unaffected bagworms will eventually move out and feed unfettered.

Comes the question regarding product/insecticide-of-choice. Currently in Kansas, there are 400+ products registered for use on bagworms. I personally do not recommend any one product over another. Use any contact insecticide (locally available through retail outlets) with bagworms listed on the product label. Based upon my experiences/trials (the first dating back to 1989), I achieved near-equally effective kill against late-instar bagworms using discontinued active ingredients (chlorpyrifos, diazinon, dimethoate, parathion) as well as currently available acephate, bifenthrin, carbaryl, cyfluthrin, gamma-cyhalothrin, malathion, permethrin, spinosad and trichlorfon. Reemphasizing: what is critical/key is not the active ingredient but rather (again) THOROUGH COVERAGE of the ENTIRE tree/shrub!






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