An invasive insect never before found in Minnesota has been discovered in Eden Prairie, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture said in a July 25 news release.
An Eden Prairie resident found an insect feeding on their arrowwood viburnum leaves and reported it to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture in June. Officials inspected the area and collected samples, determining the insect was the invasive viburnum leaf beetle.
“The insect was able to somehow hitch a ride from outside Minnesota and find its way to the Twin Cities metro area; however, we may never know exactly how it got here,” Angie Ambourn, supervisor of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s Pest Detection Unit, said in the release. “Unfortunately, this is yet another example of the ease at which invasive insects, plants, and diseases can quickly spread throughout the U.S. and the world.”
Viburnum leaf beetles are native to Europe and are found in the northeastern United States and Wisconsin. They only eat species of viburnum and can defoliate the plant. Repeated defoliation weakens the plant over time and can eventually kill it, the release said.
The beetle larvae are yellow to light brown with black spots and dashes on their bodies. The beetles chew holes in viburnum leaves in a pattern that is similar to Japanese beetles, the release notes. Adult beetles lay eggs on the twigs in egg pits that can easily be seen.
“It’s important that we get an understanding of where this insect may be in Minnesota and how big of an issue this is to homeowners,” said Ambourn.
To control the spread of the beetle, homeowners and landscapers can choose viburnum varieties that are resistant to the insect. Pruning and destroying infested twigs can also be effective at controlling the spread of the beetle. There are also chemicals available.