Maize ladybird beetle (Epilachna similes)
The adult is oval in shape, about 6 mm in length and reddish brown in colour with black spots on the wing covers. The body is covered with short, light coloured hairs. The larvae are 7-9 mm in length, soft and covered with dark coloured spines. They pupate on leaves. Both larvae and adults of the maize ladybird beetle feed on leaves, scrapping them, usually on the underside, leaving the upper epidermis intact. This beetle will cause much damage only when present in large numbers. It also attacks cereals such as wheat and sorghum.
The maize ladybird beetle rarely causes serious defoliation and therefore control is usually not necessary.
- In case of severe attack spray neem products. Weekly applications of simple neem products have given control of Epilachna beetles in other crops such as cucurbits.