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The second stage of development of the May beetle (aka beetle) after the egg is the larva. Sometimes they call her furrow, furrow or hrobak.
She is widely known among gardeners and farmers for her gluttony, and is almost the first pest vegetable, berry, wood and forest crops.
According to his activity May beetle larvae can compete with Colorado beetle larvae and adults, as well as beetles.
The natural enemies of the larvae have always been ground beetles, hedgehogs, moles, starlings, blackbirds, rooks and even the bats... If the owners of agricultural plots need to deal with the larvae of the beetle on their own, it is necessary to take into account the characteristics and lifestyle of this insect.
What does the beetle larva look like? Larvae grow up to 4-7 cm in length, they have a massive elongated body of light yellow-milk color (as seen in the photo below), covered with sparse hairs while the tail is slightly enlarged and darker.
May beetle larva - photo:
If you visually compare the larva and the adult beetle, then the first will be slightly exceed adults in size. The wrinkled body is crowned with a rounded head, often of a red or yellowish color, equipped with two brown antennae and small mandibles, which help not only to grind food, but also to dig the ground.
Larva absolutely blind, which is due to the underground lifestyle. The larva has to navigate due to the most developed sense of smell and touch.
In the front part of the body there are 6 grasping legs. On the sides in one row, you can see medium-sized brown markingslike eyes. In a calm supine state, the body of the larva acquires a C-shape.
How to distinguish from a bear?
How to distinguish a beetle larva from a bear larva? The beetle larva can only be confused with caterpillar bronze and some other larvae. The second stage of development of the bear after the egg resembles small copy an adult. Only the imago is much darker, and there are also wings. A light insect in size does not exceed 3 cm and externally very similar to a little bear (see photo below).
It is necessary to remember the external characteristics of the beetle caterpillar, so as not to confuse it with others, not dangerous larvae at all... For example, the larva of the bronzovka does not damage the rhizomes, but enriches the soil with waste products, and practically harmless... They can be distinguished by the color of the dots on the sides, a small head and short light brown legs.
May beetle and bear larva: what's the difference? Photo of a bear larva:
What does it eat?
What do the beetle larvae eat? If an individual of an imago has a relatively modest set of dishes, then the larva of the May beetle famous for its greater gluttony... Thanks to their strong jaws, the larvae eat solid plant food, sometimes gnawing even the strongest roots of old trees.
At the beginning of its development, the furrow feeds mainly on small rhizomes of plants and trees (cherry, larch, birch, spruce, oak, cedar, etc.), as well as plant humus.
With the onset of cold weather, the larva strives deeper underground (up to a meter) to wait out the cold, and by spring it rises again closer to the surface. There she will feast on shrub roots (black currant) and other plants including vegetable.
Upon reaching 2 years of age, the larva begins to consume tree roots, bulbs, potato tubers, turnips etc.
The fact that furrows were operating on the plantings can be understood by looking closely at the fruits of the potatoes - the tubers will be eaten away in a special waythat jagged edges form around small voids. In the center of the seedling bushes, the leaves and stems will look lifeless and lethargic - this is a sure sign that larvae have bred under the roots.
How to detect?
Where to find the beetle larva? The habitat of both the beetles themselves and the larvae is distributed along rivers and forests, in coastal valleys, meadows and in agricultural areas. The most favorable environment for them is moist and warm soil, rich in nutrients (humus) and easy to loosen.
In the summer, in the aisle of potato plantings and corn, the larvae are just beginning to hatch from eggs, and are in the soil at shallow depth (less than 20 cm). If the season turned out to be hot, with rare rains, then the larvae of the May beetle go under the ground by more than half a meter.
Another favorite habitat larvae are considered thickets of weeds and wild shrubs, places under the roots of various trees, as well as rotten old stumps.
How many lives?
Typically, the full life cycle of a furrow is 4 years, as a result, the average May beetle will live for about 5 years. In the last year of life, the larva passes into pupal stage, to turn into a crumb after a couple of months.
What harm does it do?
Many forest and agricultural crops suffer from the vital activity of mature beetle larvae. Young individuals do not do much harm. - at first, only herbal roots are included in their diet.
By gnawing at the roots and underground tubers, furrows can not only slow down the development and growth of useful plants, but also allow many diseases and parasites penetrate damaged parts.
From garden trees from the jaws of the grub suffer apple trees, apricots, pears, etc. Even berries like strawberries and strawberries are under threat, if the larvae of the beetle are bred underground in the beds.
May beetle larva in pupal stage - photo:
What are the consequences?
In addition to the lost crops of potatoes, corn and other vegetables, orchards with fruit trees and berry bushes can suffer significant losses. Due to the root system of the plant affected by the larvae wither rapidly, then die.
Only due to the natural and human regulation of populations, the larvae of the May beetle do not destroy whole forests and huge farm plantations... The lawn grass can lose strength from the diet of young individuals of the furrow, and the diet of older relatives is very dangerous for many coniferous and deciduous trees.
According to researchers, may go away about a day or a week so that the average beetle larva completely gnaws at the roots of a young pine. The most dangerous in this regard are the three-year-old caterpillars.
May beetle larvae have long established themselves as the main threat to forest and garden plants... During their long lifespan, furrows are able not so much to devour a large amount of plant foods like potato tubers, but to significantly damage the root system of berry plantations and fruit trees.
They spend most of their lives deep underground in search of food and during wintering periods. The structure of the body allows them to freely dig underground passages to the mouth-watering roots, which they gnaw through with their mandibles.
This is what a potato eaten by a beetle larva looks like:
It is possible to effectively deal with fleshy whitish pests only mechanically, picking by hand... For this purpose, a sufficient number of productive chemical and biological products... As methods of struggle, in order to save the harvest, special traps are set, manure is carefully examined before fertilization.
The beetle larvae can bring considerable benefit nature and man. They occupy a valuable place in many food webs and promote soil ventilation.
Many farmers specially collect the larvae as poultry feed, and fishermen claim that fish bite like an ide or a chub.