Viburnum Leaf Beetles and Catbirds

I have a Blue Muffin Viburnum just outside my office window and noticed that it was being defoliated and the leaves were almost bare, so I did a little research.

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Larva of viburnum leaf beetle.  Once I learned about this I went out and found many larvae on the underside of the leaves of the viburnum.  Apparently these beetles have moved into the Chicago area and viburnum dentatum cultivars, of which I have four bushes, are highly susceptible.  One can prune the bushes in the winter when you can see where the beetles have laid eggs on the twigs.  Otherwise, what I did was to brush the larvae into a bucket of soapy water.  There were maybe 30 that I brushed in the bucket, but I am sure I missed many.  Currently this bush is in bloom and was only defoliated on the back branches.

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Another Arrowwood viburnum dentatum I have is a cultivar ‘raspberry tart.’  This one was almost completely defoliated before I noticed it.  I hope it survives until next year, but it may have the same problem again….  One result of all these larvae is that I think they attracted additional birds this year.

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This year is the first year I have seen catbirds in our yard and they seem to be hanging around.  This catbird was finding larvae in the viburnum leaves.

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This catbird spent some time poking around the strawberries, too.

So I am not sure of the future solution for the viburnum.  I will see if we can get ahead of these beetles, but if not we may need to plant other cultivars of viburnum that are not as susceptible to them.

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