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Owing to the uncertainty of transmission opportunities between mobile nodes, the routing in delay-tolerant networks (DTNs) exploits the mechanism of opportunistic forwarding. Energy-efficient algorithms and policies for DTN are crucial to maximizing the message delivery probability while reducing the delivery cost. In this contribution, we investigate the problem of energy-efficient optimal beaconing control in a DTN. We model the message dissemination under variable beaconing rate with a continuous-time Markov model. Based on this model, we then formulate the optimization problem of the optimal beaconing control for epidemic routing and obtain the optimal threshold policy from the solution of this optimization problem. Furthermore, through extensive numerical results, we demonstrate that the proposed optimal threshold policy significantly outperforms the static policy with constant beaconing rate in terms of system energy consumption savings.