Epicometis hirta (Poda)
(Sometimes known as Tropinota hirta (Poda von Neuhaus))
Common name: Apple Blossom Beetle.
Taxonomic placing: Insecta, Holometabola, Coleoptera, Scarabaeidae.
Geographical distribution: Europe and the Mediterranean region.
Morphology: The adult is 8-13 mm long, grey-black; all body surfaces bear yellow-white hairs. The elytra are black, with white-yellow spots. The larva is about 15 mm long, whitish, its posterior segment with 2 rows of divergent setae.
Life history: The adults occur in the flowers of many plants, feeding on all parts, including the pistil, stamens and pollen. During non-blossoming periods they subsist on leaves. The larvae live in the soil, feeding on decomposing organic matter, overwintering under dropped leaves or in other protected sites. The adults can change their color (i.e. host) preferences during the season, in order to locate hosts that blossom later.
Economic importance: Feeding on the pollen of cereals and fruit trees (like apple) reduces their fertilization and thus their fruit bearing; damage may reach 70%. Leaves may also be affected. Pollen that sticks to the insects’ bodies contributes to crop pollination.
Monitoring: Various traps, baited with floral attractants or with floral white and light sky blue colors, are used for monitoring and detection. However, the pest is differentially attracted to these colors during the the growing season.
Horticultural methods. The beetles can be removed by hand or by shaking blossom-bearing branches and placing them in a killing jar.
Mass trapping: The various traps, placed in orchards before blooming begins, can be used to mass-capture the beetles, providing an effective control means during blossoming, when insecticides cannot be applied.
Chemical control: Sprays are to be applied before blooming begins, to avoid harming any pollinating insects.
Aydin, G. 2011. Plant phenology-related shifts in color preferences of Epicometis (Tropinota) hirta (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Cetoniinae) adults - Key to effective population monitoring and suppression. Florida Entomologist 94: 832-838.
Oltean, I., Macaveli, L., Vasian, I., Totos, S., Varga, M. and Florian, T. 2015. Use of semiochemical products in monitoring and control of Epicometis hirta Poda. Bulletin of University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine Cluj-Napoca. Agriculture, Available at: http://journals.usamvcluj.ro/index.php/agriculture/article/view/11705.
Subchev, M.A. (and 8 co-authors). 2011. Employing floral baited traps for detection and seasonal monitoring of Tropinota (Epicometis) hirta (Poda).(Coleoptera: Cetoniidae) in Bulgaria. Acta Zoologica Bulgaria 63: 269-276.
Tóth, M., Schmera, D. and Imrei, Z. 2004. Optimization of a chemical attractant for Epicometis (Tropinota) hirta Poda. Zeitschrift für Naturforschung 59: 288-92.
Vuts, J., Szarukan, I., Subchev, M., Toshova, T. and Toth, M. 2009. Improving the floral attractant to lure Epicometis hirta Poda (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae, Cetoniinae). Journal of Pest Science 83: 15-20.
Yașar, B. and Uysal, O. 2013. Evaluation of the efficacy of different traps in capturing apple blossom beetle (Epicometis hirta (Poda, 1761)) (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae). Turkish Journal of Entomology 37: 169-177.