The cereal leaf beetle, a pest that damages grain and grass crops, now has been found in 20 counties across Idaho, the Department of Agriculture says.
The agency said Tuesday field surveys turned up the pest in Boise, Canyon, Elmore and Gooding counties. That’s in addition to 16 counties where the beetles have been confirmed since they were first detected in Franklin County in 1992.
In Idaho, the primary host plants are wheat and barley, but the beetles also have been found on oats and grass.
The state agency said the pest is easily controlled by most commonly registered pesticides for cereal grains or parasites can be used.
The biggest impact on Idaho products comes from a quarantine imposed by the California Department of Food and Agriculture to keep cereal leaf beetle out of that state.
To comply with the quarantine, the state has had to perform annual surveys to determine the extend of cereal leaf beetle contamination. Grass hay and straw are affected most, because California is a good market for those crops. Hay and straw from CLB infested areas must be fumigated prior to shipment and that’s economically unfeasible.
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