Asparagus beetle control: biological treatment of asparagus beetles

The sudden appearance of orange and black beetles in your garden may seem like a good omen – after all, they’re cheerful and look like ladybugs. Don’t be fooled. Despite the similar colouring, the asparagus beetle on plants means trouble.

Control of Asparagus Leafhopper

There are two main types of asparagus beetles: the common asparagus beetle and the spotted asparagus beetle. Both are mainly orange, but the common asparagus leafhopper has black wings with white streaks, while the spotted asparagus leafhopper is completely orange with black streaks. However, the control of asparagus is the same regardless of species.

It is not surprising that asparagus beetles are more frequent and more harmful to asparagus plants. Both adults and larvae feed on the stems and tips, leaving them marked. Spears become extremely unattractive when crushed and eggs are laid on the tips. In addition, asparagus chinch bug larvae feed inside developing berries and consume the foliage.

How to get rid of asparagus beetles

In most cases, biological treatment of asparagus is recommended unless populations are large or asparagus plants are at serious risk. As soon as you notice the asparagus, start hand-picking it each day by pouring it into a bucket of soapy water. If you see brown eggs on the asparagus, be sure to scrape them off as well.

Cutting asparagus shoots as soon as they appear and leaving them no more than two days between harvests can help prevent the eggs from hatching. Even if the spears are contaminated with eggs, cut them off as soon as they are large enough to be harvested.

Neem oil can be applied to plantations with severe infestations, especially in years when harvesting is not recommended. Cover stems well, applying neem to new stems weekly. Berry picking at the end of the season can help keep asparagus away.

If the asparagus beetle on plants is severe and immediate control is needed to save your asparagus, pyrethrin and malathion can be used without causing serious damage to beneficial insects. These chemicals are short-acting, last only a few days, but are powerful. Beetles that come and go on the asparagus trail can be killed with permethrin, but keep in mind that this chemical has a much longer life span and will kill most insects that come into contact with asparagus.

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