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Bronzed field beetle

Consultant, Tim Condon (Delta Agribusiness), has reported feeding damage to a canola crop near Harden, in the Southern Tablelands district of New South Wales. Beetles collected from the paddock have been identified as the bronzed field beetle (Adelium brevicorne). Tim reports around 5 beetles per square metre could be found, and the damage was quite severe with some plants completely defoliated. The affected paddock was sown to wheat in the previous two years.

Bronzed field beetles are up to 11 mm long and shiny black in colour with a slight bronze appearance. The larvae are dark brown, up to 12 mm in length and 3 mm wide. They have twelve body segments, the last one having two distinct upturned spines. The larvae are often confused with the grey false wireworm, which is a serious pest in Victoria and parts of southern New South Wales.

Bronzed field beetles damage plants by chewing on seedlings at or above ground level. Larvae may also feed on roots and underground stems of plants however they may also be present in the soil with little or no damage to plant seedlings. This is because they primarily feed on dead organic matter and high numbers are required to cause serious crop damage. Larvae are typically found within the top 1 cm of the soil and can be found under plant material, clods of soil, rocks or wood. Bronzed field beetles are important pests of establishing canola and typically do not affect cereal and pulse crops.

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