Friday, January 7, 2011

3 Tips to Controlling Asparagus Beetles

I love asparagus. You can steam it, grill it, deep fry it, you name it. Most importantly, beyond all my favorite recipes, I am fortunate enough to live in a climate suitable to growing it. It is not a hard vegetable to grow, but unfortunately for asparagus they have a natural predator called the asparagus beetle.

As their name would imply, they attack asparagus. As soon as the spears of the asparagus pop through the soil, these beetles will begin to feed on them. If that wasn’t bad enough, they will also lay their eggs on the spears from which the larvae will appear and grow into mature adult beetles that will wreak more havoc on your plants.

Asparagus beetles are about the size of a ladybug and they come in many colors, most notably brown. Although, they can be seen as commonly in blue, black and other darker shades.

They are harmless to humans so the first line of defense is simply handpicking. This is best done when there are not too many to handle. Simply pick the beetles and larvae off of the asparagus and put them in a coffee can filled with syrup, molasses or some other sticky substance so that when you put them in there they can’t get away. Once you are done picking them off the plants, seal the can with a lid, tape it shut, and throw it away.

A second way to naturally get rid of asparagus beetles is to attract other insects that are harmless to humans and your garden, but deadly to the beetle. One such insect is the ladybug. Ladybugs will feed on the larvae of the asparagus beetles which will control the beetle population making it possible for you to get rid of the adults via the means mentioned in the previous tip. Plant plenty of cilantro, dill or fennel and you are sure to attract all the ladybugs you will ever need.

A third approach and a faster way to control asparagus beetles is to us a botanical spray like neem oil. It is available at any garden center for less than ten dollars and works extremely fast.

Combine all three of these tips above and you are sure to keep your asparagus plants, beetle free, healthy and safe.

About the Author
Mike Podlesny is a contributing writer for Mike the Gardener Enterprises, LLC, who operates the largest Vegetable Gardening page on Facebook and the widely popular Seeds of the Month Club.

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