Participants in this project monitor gardens, parks, or school yards throughout the spring and summer to identify viburnum leaf beetles. As a citizen scientist, you gather data that researchers can use to help stop the spread of this pest, reduce the damage it causes, and help us all be better prepared for future invasions by exotic pests.
The viburnum leaf beetle is an invasive, non-native beetle that first appeared in New York State along Lake Ontario in 1996, and has steadily spread. It has been reported in Maine, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and parts of Ohio, as well as Ontario, the Canadian Maritime Provinces, and British Columbia. It is a voracious eater that can defoliate viburnum shrubs entirely. Plants may die after two or three years of heavy infestation.
The Viburnum Leaf Beetle Project teams gardeners, landscapers, 4-H groups, school classes, and others with researchers at Cornell University. With your help, researchers can learn more about the viburnum leaf beetle by tracking its expanding range, learning which viburnum species it likes or dislikes, assessing how much damage the beetle causes, determining how weather and other factors affect its lifecycle, and identifying which management tactics effectively limit pest populations.