Abstract Behavioural responses to odours of oilseed rape in bud and flower stage and to green and yellow colours are studied for the two main phenological stages of pollen beetles, Meligethes aeneus, a major pest of oilseed rape, Brassica napus. Over-wintered individuals oviposit in buds of oilseed rape. Adults of the new generation (i.e. the summer generation) feed on flowers of different plant species before over wintering. In olfactometer experiments, the over-wintered beetles display a higher preference for odour of oilseed rape at the bud stage compared with the summer generation, both with and without colour stimuli. Flower odours are preferred in combination with yellow colour. Colour stimuli presented alone do not affect the behaviour. The summer generation beetles respond to both bud and flower odour. Adding colour stimuli changes the summer generations preference towards yellow and flower odour.