How to Manage Pests

UC Pest Management Guidelines

Cotton

Darkling Beetles

Scientific Name: Blapstinus spp.

(Reviewed 5/13, updated 5/13)

In this Guideline:


DESCRIPTION OF THE PESTS

Darkling beetle adults range from 0.12 to 0.25 inch (3–6 mm) long and are about half as wide. They are dirty black to rusty brown in color, but this may be obscured by dust or a thin layer of soil. Larvae are very similar to wireworms in appearance.

Damage

Beetle adults girdle or cut off seedlings at or below the soil surface, and are mostly active at night. After plants reach a height of 4 to 6 inches, darkling beetles are usually not a problem. Darkling beetles sometimes invade cotton from grain fields, weedy areas, or from adjacent alfalfa.

Management

Watch for darkling beetle injury by walking the field during the seedling stage. Pay special attention to field edges and any low or weedy areas. Currently there are no bait products registered for control of darkling beetles in cotton.

PUBLICATION

[UC Peer Reviewed]

UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines: Cotton
UC ANR Publication 3444

Insects and Mites

  • L. D. Godfrey, Entomology, UC Davis
  • P. B. Goodell, UC IPM Program and Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center, Parlier
  • E. T. Natwick, UC Cooperative Extension - Desert Research and Extension Center, Imperial County
  • D.R. Haviland, UC Cooperative Extension, Kern County and UC IPM Program
  • V. M. Barlow, UC Cooperative Extension, Riverside County and UC IPM Program
Acknowledgment for contributions to Insects and Mites:
  • E. E. Grafton-Cardwell, Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center, Parlier
  • N. C. Toscano, Entomology, UC Riverside

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