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Bean Leaf Beetle (Cerotoma trifurcata)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Bean Leaf Beetle

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Image Credit: Tim G., taken in PA
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Image Credit: Tim G., taken in PA
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Image Credit: Steve K., taken in California, MD
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Peas and beans as well as cucumbers and squash are all fair game for this hungry, spotted beetle.

Updated: 06/02/2023; Authored By ; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The Bean Leaf Beetle varies in color and in pattern. Some are green, while others are brown or even red. Two of them could be on the same leaf, and could be mistaken for two different types of beetles. Most show off six black square-like spots on the back. The sides have a long black stripe on them, which differs from the series of spots seen on the Spotted Cucumber Beetle, which is a close relative. A black spot at the top of the wings is triangular. Other members of this species have no black spots at all, and their wing coverings are plain. The head of all individuals is black and the pronotum (collar) matches whatever color the rest of the beetle is.

Though small, the Bean Leaf Beetle is a garden and field crop pest. As its name suggests, it feeds on beans, shelling peas, and snap peas. It also feeds on cucumbers, zucchini, and squash plants, just like its relative. Beans experience brown spots on pods and holes in the leaves where the beetles have chewed through them. When disturbed, the beetle tucks in its legs and falls to the ground to escape quickly. Females lay orange eggs on the ground at the base of a host plant. The while larvae or grubs feed on the roots of the plant, but are not as significant in their damage as the adults can be. Physically removing adults from the plant can help control their numbers in a small garden with a low population. Mature plants seem to handle the feeding activity while still producing.©InsectIdentification.org

Known Diet of the Bean-Leaf-Beetle

legumes; cucumbers; squash; zucchini
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General Characteristics

Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
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Taxonomic Hierarchy

Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Coleoptera
        Family: Chrysomelidae
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          Genus: Cerotoma
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            Species: trifurcata

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Cerotoma trifurcata
Category: Beetle
Size (Adult; Length): 4mm to 9mm (0.15" to 0.35")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown; green; black; red; orange
Descriptors: six spots; lime; cucumber; black head; small; flying; garden pest; plain

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 4mm (0.2in) and 9mm (0.4in)
Lo: 4mm
Md: 6.5mm
Hi: 9mm

Territorial Map*

U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Bean Leaf Beetle may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Bean Leaf Beetle. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.
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