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Beetles another pest in Mid-South soybeans

Beetles feed on soybean leaves, particularly during the reproductive stages of the plant.

The beetles — bean leaf beetles, Japanese beetles, blister beetles and other beetle-like pests — can damage soybeans by feeding on their leaves at almost any time in the season, but especially during the reproductive stages of the plant.

Bean leaf beetles, for example, are almost always present in soybean fields and can cause economic injury, according to Sandy Steckel, Extension assistant with the University of Tennessee’s AgResearch and Education Center in Jackson, Tenn.

See, Wide range of bugs can infest soybeans

“These beetles damage soybean plants by chewing holes in leaves, and they occasionally feed on pods,” she said, speaking during the No-Till Soybean Tour of the University of Tennessee’s Milan No-Till Field Day, which was held online due to the coronavirus pandemic. (To see this and other videos, visit

“Early-season infestations are often concentrated in the first soybeans to emerge in the area if the soybeans were not treated with an insecticide seed treatment. However, most economic damage is caused by defoliation of larger beans from later generations.”

Earlier in the video, Steckel suggested growers watch two videos featuring Scott Stewart, Extension entomologist with the University of Tennessee, on the nuts and bolts of scouting soybeans and identification of some more common insect pests in crops.

See, Caterpillar 'legs' could aid in pest identification

“I want to encourage you to watch them as my presentation is meant to supplement that material,” she said. “I’d also like to recognize that Dr. Stewart took the great photographs we’ll see today.” (Stewart was recently named director of the West Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center.)

Click on and to see those videos.


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