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Beetles: An Earth-Wise Guide

Beetles, the good and the bad…

There are many types of beetles in the Austin area, many of them beneficial. The two most common groups of pest beetles are listed below, along with some helpful beetles.

Least toxic solutions for all beetles:

  • Use floating row cover

  • Remove dead plant materials and debris from garden

  • Treat soil with beneficial nematodes

  • Check for damage early and often during the growing season

 

Flea Beetle Pests

FLEA BEETLE

STRIPED FLEA BEETLE

Flea beetles attack:

many vegetables including cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers and eggplant, potatoes and corn

And cause damage:

leaving a “shot gun” pattern feeding damage on leaves and potentially spreading diseases such as potato blight and bacterial wilt. Larvae feed underground on roots.

Try these solutions:

  • Irrigate efficiently. Drought stressed plants are more susceptible to damage

  • Companion plant with catnip, sage and mint to repel beetles

  • Plant trap crops such as mustard

 

Cucumber Beetle Pests

SPOTTED CUCUMBER BEETLE

BANDED CUCUMBER BEETLE

STRIPED CUCUMBER BEETLE

Cucumber beetles attack:

all members of the squash and cucumber family

And cause damage:

leaving minimal feeding damage, but spread diseases such as bacterial wilt and squash mosaic virus that can kill plants.

Try these solutions:

  • Choose disease resistant squash plants such as Cougar,Destiny III,Liberator III, Sunglo and Sunray

  • Use trellises to get plants off the ground and mulch heavily around plants

Helpful Beetles

These beetles are beneficial and cause no damage in the garden. They feed on aphids, caterpillars, and other garden pests.

GROUND BEETLE

GROUND BEETLE

LADY BIRD BEETLE

If you must use a pesticide…

Check out this helpful product toxicity comparison chart: http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/organic/files/2011/03/beetles.pdf

If you are puzzled about what is causing the problem or what more you can do, the Texas AgriLife Extension Service may be able to help. Call 512-854-9600 and ask for the Master Gardener desk, or email them at travismg@ag.tamu.edu

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SOURCE:
http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/organic/files/2011/03/beetles.pdf

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Content and copyright permission generousy granted by: 
Austin Grow Green: www.growgreen.orgwho works in close association with:
Texas AgriLife Extension Service:  http://agrilifeextension.tamu.edu
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This post was written by Marjory

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