Beetle Mania

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Home gardening has seen a spike over the past year. According to the U.S. Census Monthly Retail Trade Report, “The gardening industry saw an incredibly healthy spike in revenue, despite COVID-19. The sales revenue for the building material and garden retail sector actually increased by 8.6% between Spring 2019 and Spring 2020.” Of course this is great news and we want them to be successful.

As experienced gardeners know, scouting your home garden is one of the keys to success in having a healthy garden. I want to review what pests new gardeners may not be familiar with and what damage these certain pests cause. Experienced gardeners can use this information to brush up on their pest ID skills!

Summer gardens really start taking off in the month of June. It is warm, there is usually a good amount of rainfall, and our plants hit a growth spurt! Gardeners aren’t the only ones noticing the beautiful green growth of their plants, pests are noticing too!

By now, most gardens have produced their first rounds of cucumbers, squash, tomatoes, etc. This means gardeners have already encountered some pests, as well. So, what pests should you be scouting for in the month of June?

The Mexican Bean Beetle. This pest resembles a ladybug and can do incredible damage to your bean leaves. Both larvae and adults feed on the underside of leaves, leaving the top surface intact. Damaged plants have a characteristic lacelike appearance. Most insects go through complete metamorphosis meaning, the adult bean beetle and the larvae stage of the bean beetle look completely different. The adult resembles a ladybug, but it’s spots are in straight lines across its back. They range from yellow to a coppery-brown in color. The larvae are yellow with 6 “spikey” looking growths on their backs. This beetle also has a close relative called the squash beetle. Both are almost identical in appearance and can be controlled the same.

mexican beetle

Mexican beetle and larvae

The Flea Beetle. There are several species of these shiny, oval-shaped 1/10” long beetles, each having a preferred vegetable in the garden. Adults feed on leaves and stems, leaving small round holes. The crucifer flea beetle prefers plants in the cabbage family, but they will also feed on potatoes and sweet corn.

Flea beetle

Flea beetle

The Squash Bug. The squash bug is one of the most common and troublesome pests in the home vegetable garden. This pest injures plants differently than the ones previously described. This is a sap-sucking pest. It will leave your squash leaves looking wilted and leaves will become brittle. The adult squash bug is rather large, brownish-black, and flat-backed. The young, called nymphs, are whitish to greenish-gray, with black legs. Scouting for these bugs can be tricky. This is because squash bugs like to hide. Look at the base of your squash plants and check under the leaves. Squash bug eggs can be found underneath leaves. The eggs are small, round and reddish-brown in appearance.

Squash Bug

Squash Bug

Early detection of these pests makes controlling them much easier. Please note that these aren’t the only pests that you may be encountering now. If you need ID on other pests or have questions about how to control them, please contact us at 828-757-1290 or visit us anytime online.

Helpful Links:

Cucurbit Pest ID & Control

Flea Beetle ID & Control

Mexican Flea Beetle ID