Story: Insect pests of crops, pasture and forestry

Black beetles

Black beetles

Black beetles are mainly pests of pasture, but they also attack crops such as maize, sweet corn, potatoes, strawberries and kūmara (sweet potato). Adult beetles usually emerge in February, and after feeding for a few months spend winter in the soil. They resurface and lay their eggs about late spring. The larvae look like grass-grub larvae but are larger, and also eat grass roots. Pasture roots die off and the turf can be rolled back like a carpet. Black beetles prefer living in free-draining, sandy soils.

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How to cite this page:

Alison Popay, 'Insect pests of crops, pasture and forestry - Introduced pests of pasture roots and foliage', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 24 July 2024)

Story by Alison Popay, published 24 Nov 2008