Seedcorn Beetle and Slender Seedcorn Beetle

Stenolophus lecontei Chaudoir and Clivinia impressifronsLeConte

Appearance and Life History

Seedcorn beetle Seedcorn beetle
Photo by University of Illinois

Two ground beetles that occasionally attack soybean seeds are the seedcorn beetle and slender seedcorn beetle. The seedcorn beetle is a yellowish-brown beetle about a 5/16" (8 mm) long with a patch of black in the middle of each wing cover. The slender seedcorn beetle is a shiny, reddish brown beetle about a 1/4" (6 mm) long, with a noticeable restriction between the thorax and the abdomen. The larvae, like the adults of both species, live in the soil foraging for food. It is not known for certain, but both species probably have two generations per year.

Seedcorn Beetle Life Cycle

Damage

Slender seedcorn beetle Slender seedcorn beetle
Photo by University of Illinois

Seedcorn beetles are mostly beneficial by feeding on the eggs and small larvae of pest species in the soil. Occasionally, when cold, wet weather delays soybean emergence, these beetles will feed on and destroy the seed, resulting in poor or non-emergence. Damaged seed will be hollowed-out. They may also feed on the hypocotyl or cotyledons of emerging plants, causing them to be stunted and/or tattered.

Sampling Method

Examine soil by digging in areas where seedlings are stunted or plants have failed to emerge. Check ungerminated seed for injury and presence of seedcorn beetles. Dig up 2 linear row feet (0.6 m) in each of 5 areas. Examine seeds for damage. Record the number of plants, good (sound) ungerminated seeds, and hollowed-out or otherwise damaged seeds in each area sampled.

Management Guidelines

Soybean Insect Control Recommendations: E-series 77-W (PDF)

Since there are no rescue treatments for control of seedcorn beetles, replanting is the only available option. The decision to replant should be based on the remaining healthy plant population, the date, yield expectation, etc. Where planting in wide rows, it may be feasible to replant down the middle of the rows without destroying the healthy plants in the original planting. The result would be the equivalent to narrow row soybean.

The following table may help in making replanting decisions.

Yield effects of reduced stands

If control is necessary, contact your state Cooperative Extension Service or click here for control materials and rates.