• Cereal Leaf Beetle
    Cereal Leaf Beetle
  • Damage to leaves
    Damage to leaves

Cereal Leaf Beetle

Oulema melanopus


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Adults ¼ inch long with brightly colored orange-red thorax, yellow legs and metallic blue head and wing covers. The larva has a light yellow body with brown head and legs. The body is protected by a layer of slimy fecal material which makes them look like a slug.

Host Plants

Cereal leaf beetle has a wide host range including barley, oats, wheat, and rye. May also feed on corn, sorghum, or grass weeds including wild oats, quackgrass, reed canary grass, ryegrass, foxtail, orchard grass, wild rye, smooth brome and fescues.

Pathway of Introduction and Spread

Imported insect pest from Europe. It was first detected in Michigan in 1962. Spreads through movement of infested agricultural commodities.


Both adults and larvae of the cereal leaf beetle damage grain crops by feeding on the leaves. Feeding typically occurs on the upper leaf surface and is characterized by elongated slits.

Location in Nebraska

No known infestations in Nebraska. Currently found across the U.S. and in adjacent states of Kansas, Iowa, and Missouri.

Photo Credits: 

John Meyer, NC State University