Beetles are pretty annoying to have in your garden. Not only will they eat away your plants’ foliage, blossoms and more, but the females will also lay eggs on the underside of the leaves. Once the larvae form, they consume your plants and quite literally ruin all of the hard work you’ve put into your garden. Even worse, once they become full grown, you can expect your garden to deteriorate even more rapidly.
Types of Beetles
While there are many different types of beetles that may infest your garden, the problems caused are relatively the same. Some of the beetles that may cause you issues in the garden include:
- Flea Beetles: These beetles look very similar to fleas. When they are present, you will begin to notice small holes eaten into the leaves of your plants. Moreover, they tend to transmit viral and bacterial diseases, which may destroy your entire garden. Especially, if not noticed right away. Most commonly, these beetles attack the following: beans, cabbage, eggplant, potatoes, tomatoes, and peppers.
- Japanese Beetles: Some of the most destructive beetles out there are the Japanese beetles, as they will feed on literally anything nearby. Their appearance is typically a metallic brownish-gold color with a darker head and antennae.
- Bean Beetles: The name of these beetles pretty much gives it away as to where you will find them chomping away in your garden. While they are more likely to eat the bush variety of beans, you may also find them on pole bean varieties too. They look similar to ladybugs and are yellow to brown in color with the same black spots as ladybugs.
- Blister Beetles: When it comes to the most unpleasant beetles, the blister beetle definitely wins. Beware that when killed they secrete cantharidin, which is toxic and can harm both livestock and humans alike. With more than 250 species of these beetles, they vary greatly in size and color, but most often will be bright in color and can resemble the asparagus beetle.
- Asparagus Beetles: This type of beetle is named accordingly, so if you are growing asparagus be on the lookout for these little guys. They can resemble ladybugs or have a blue/black shell with yellow spots on it.
- Cucumber Beetles: The cucumber beetle is also named accordingly. However, you may find these little guys chomping away at your squash, pumpkins or melons too! The insect is typically yellow to green with a darker head and antennae.
- Potato Beetles: Again, this beetle is named after what it likes most to eat – your potatoes! Although, you may also find this little critter on your tomatoes, eggplants or pepper plants. Typically, they will appear more circular with yellow to orange coloring, as well as black stripes down it’s exterior.
Dealing with a Beetle Problem
Depending on the type of beetles you have in your garden, you’ll want to first inspect the areas where they’re found. Seeing adult beetles could mean there is a group of eggs nearby. Check around for any laid eggs or beetle larvae. They are typically laid and found on leaves and foliage.
Adult beetles are around 1/10th of an inch long or bigger, with a shiny, dark brown or black shell and long hind legs. They tend to jump and fly when disturbed. However, their larvae are usually an off-white/cream colored small worm that can measure as long as ¼ to ⅛ of an inch. You’ll most likely find them roaming on your soil and underneath it as well.
Most commonly, beetles are active during the Spring season compared to any other season. Due to the warmer weather and fresh vegetation, they tend to be more troublesome during this time. The good news is that this is also the best time to get a handle on your beetle problem!
Getting Rid of Beetles
When it comes to ridding your garden of troublesome beetles, there are a number of ways to go about it. Of course, you will want to remove the beetles organically to avoid harming the plants and soil in your garden.
Below we’ve put together some of the most common ways to handle your beetle problems without using harmful chemicals or pest control solutions.
As much of a nuisance as it sounds, it’s quite easy to simply handpick those pesky beetles. Unless you’re squeamish, of course!
To start, create a solution prior to handpicking to place the beetles in. This will ensure your pest problem ends once and for all. First, mix together at least one tablespoon of liquid soap, preferably liquid dishwashing detergent with some water in a jar. Then, just place the picked beetles in the solution one by one. This will cause them to drown.
This works especially well if you take the time to do it, as it does get time-consuming. However, picking them by hand, one by one will ensure you’ve got them all and is a very effective remedy.
When it comes to handpicking, go for the adult beetles rather than the roaming larvae underground. While you can scoop off any eggs you find on your plants’ leaves, it’s rather difficult to handpick the tiny larvae, but have no fear we have another solution for them!
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Using organic neem oil and neem oil spray will poison the beetles and their offspring when consumed. Spraying a solution of neem oil, or diluting pure neem oil in water to create a sprayable solution, will cause beetle larvae to die as they grow. You’ll want to spray the solution almost everywhere you find beetles, including on the soil. While neem oil doesn’t produce results immediately, it does work.
Setting up traps for beetles also helps the problem in your garden. Use a drop cloth and place it down, around your plants during the late afternoon, and come back to it in the early hours of the morning. This is when beetles are the most active.
When you come back to the drop cloth, it should have a good amount of beetles on it, to which you can shake them off and dispose of them into the liquid detergent solution.
Another homemade trap you can create includes a canned fruit cocktail. Simply open up the can and let it sit in the sun for about a week as it ferments. Once it’s fermented, get a container to fill with your liquid detergent. Then, place the fruit cocktail into the container ensuring the water doesn’t pour into it. After this, simply place the container out where you are having beetle issues and they will come to eat the fruit cocktail, but drowned in the solution instead.
While there are many other ways you can get rid of beetles, the above is what we have found to be the most effective organic pest control solution against beetles and hope you find success with them too!