Sunday, June 8, 2008

Attack of the Beetles!!!!

I went out of town for 6 days. 6 days! Everything was fine when I left... I covered most plants with walls of water and the raised beds with black plastic mulch (known in lay terms as cut up trash bags :).

I came back from out of town to flea beetles and cucumber beetles attacking the plants that weren't protected by walls of water. They must have hatched/matured in the 6 days I was gone! There were 2 tomatoes (my Moonglow heirloom, no!!!), a tomatillo, and a few peppers uncovered. The tomatoes and tomatillo were getting devoured!

Flea beetles are very little black bugs that leave tiny buckshot holes in leaves. They also jump like fleas. You can see a couple on the rightmost leaf in the pic.

(Striped) cucumber beetles are a bit bigger, yellow with distinct black stripes (The stock pic shows both spotted and striped). They eat big holes through leaves, mate all over my tomatillo, and leave clumps of orange eggs on the undersides of leaves. The worst part is that they spread bacterial wilt, which can kill the whole cucumber or squash plant. I've only noticed them on the tomatillo so far (since all my squash are in a walls of water teepees) but this could be a bad situation since 1/3 to 1/2 of my garden is curcurbits of various kinds.

The community gardens are all organic, so no killing them with technology (can I blind them with science?) .... but there's several organic options available. I'll post soon what works for me.

1 comment:

  1. It's really wild how so much damage can occur in such a short time. I too went out of town for six days only to find garden devastation on my return. Hornworms had completely stripped several of my best tomato plants.