And so it begins........Colorado beetles

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Trev62
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And so it begins........Colorado beetles

Post by Trev62 »

And so it begins, planting out our melons, courgettes and butternut today we notice the appearance of the dreaded Colorado beetle.

Springing into action we started the pain staking task of inspecting our potato plants one at a time and checking the soil around the stems, over two hours and @ 400 beetles later with many eggs destroyed we retired from the fray.

Every year we face the same battle and every morning we rigorously walk the lines dispatching them and their eggs as we find them, it gets easier and their numbers diminish as the season progresses but the volume of them appears to be greater this year.

They are a lovely coloured and marked beetle (as far as beetles go!) but can be so destructive especially here if you do not deal with them.
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lancashire lass
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Re: And so it begins........Colorado beetles

Post by lancashire lass »

Have you tried to grow companion plants to try and repel them? It's a bit late now but I was impressed with how effective Pot Marigold was against the Asparagus beetle (I confess the Pot Marigold was established and self seeding in the asparagus bed for a couple of years before I started to see a drop in beetle infestations)

This website suggests:
Catnip, Coriander, Eucalyptus, Marigold, Nasturtium, Onion, Tansy
Maybe for this year you could make a spray, say something like eucalyptus oil (dilute it down by mixing with a soapy solution)? You could trial it on a few plants to make sure it doesn't affect their growth / flavour (it shouldn't, but somehow eucalyptus flavoured potatoes doesn't sound too appealing LOL)
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lancashire lass
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Re: And so it begins........Colorado beetles

Post by lancashire lass »

I was just catching up on a gardening forum when I read a post which made me wonder. A friend had to abandon his allotment plot this past couple of years until he had his hip replacement. Luckily he was able to reclaim his plot but it was covered in grass which he dug over - worried that wireworm (larvae of Click beetle) may be prevalent, he sowed mustard seed on top of the earthed seed potatoes (it will germinate and continue to grow until the potato foliage overwhelm it) He swear blinds it works at keeping wireworm or some other soil pests at bay.

Anyway, I googled and came across this site which is more or less the same method
Mustard is a wonderful remedy for the Colorado potato beetle. Not only is it not toxic to humans, it saves us from having to clean up the corpses of this nasty leaf beetle, because mustard does not kill, but drives the Colorado potato beetle out of the garden.
I did find several "home remedies" (all looked like the same article on different sites) of using mustard (powder) and vinegar against Colorado beetle - I haven't got a problem of using mustard powder but vinegar is acidic and doesn't do plants or soil any good but I suppose there's not harm sacrificing a plant to see how it does.
Trev62
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Re: And so it begins........Colorado beetles

Post by Trev62 »

Thanks again for your post and the informative link.

I had never even heard of using mustard as a deterrent. Everyone here religiously walk their rows of potatoes mid morning manually removing and killing these good looking beasts.

Rotating crops does not seem to deter them either.

Mustard seeds are hard to come by here so I will have to look at getting some sent over as it is definitely worth trying and we should be able to make our own mustard as well :-D

Thanks again.
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Mo
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Re: And so it begins........Colorado beetles

Post by Mo »

Not something we get here >fi<
But I do remember the posters at primary school, warning us to watch out for them.
And the ones warning against Deadly Nightshade

LL I thought it was Tagetes (African?? French?? Marigold) rather than Calendula (pot marigold) that was supposed to repel pests.

Keep picking and squishing - I've done my share of that for Cabbage White butterfly eggs and caterpillars.
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lancashire lass
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Re: And so it begins........Colorado beetles

Post by lancashire lass »

Mo wrote: 03 May 2023, 21:58 LL I thought it was Tagetes (African?? French?? Marigold) rather than Calendula (pot marigold) that was supposed to repel pests.
French marigolds / Mexican marigolds / Tagetes are excellent at repelling insects due to the natural thiophenes (a bit like pyrithrin in chrysanthemums) which repel many insects (particularly sucking insects like aphids but some of these compounds are excreted in the soil and repel many soil pests too)

Why Pot Marigold / Calendula works, I don't know - several posts go on about attracting natural pest predators and doesn't specify what it contains that may repel asparagus beetle. All I know is that letting it self seed in the asparagus bed meant that there were plants all year round (many germinate in autumn and providing it isn't a particularly harsh winter, many survive and flower earlier) and this seemed to work. Maybe it interrupts the life cycle of the asparagus beetle (the larvae drop down into the soil to pupate) or something.

Gardener's Path
In general, it tends to benefit populations of natural pest predators, attracting them to the garden and encouraging them to settle, reproduce, and contribute to pest control and pollination.
Calendula can help to prevent beetles from attacking asparagus and repel tomato hornworms from tomatoes
The Free Range
Calendula: Calendula is a great companion plant to grow with asparagus. It will help deter the asparagus beetle.
The Spruce

Calendula (Calendula officinalis)
Orange and yellow marigold flowers in a large organic flowerbed

Calendula, or pot marigold, repels asparagus beetle, nematodes, and tomato hornworm. It also attracts beneficial insects, so this edible flower is useful throughout your garden.
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Trev62 wrote: 03 May 2023, 19:52 I had never even heard of using mustard as a deterrent.
Any aromatic plant (think of lavender, herbs and spices) contain compounds which give them strong scent and flavour we are familiar with, particularly in cooking. But the real reason is usually as an insect repellent (you don't see aphids sucking on your lavender or thyme) Mustard contains allyl isothiocyanate which not only gives it that "bite" when eating (another in the same family is horse radish) but known for its insect repellent
It is used principally as a flavoring agent in foods. Synthetic allyl isothiocyanate is used as an insecticide, as an anti-mold agent, bacteriocide, and nematicide, and is used in certain cases for crop protection
Green Manure
Caliente Mustard is an excellent green manure that has biofumigant properties. (Biofumigation is the suppression of soil-borne pests & diseases by the release of naturally occurring gases). By combining the lush organic matter with the plants biofumigant properties the activity of beneficial soil microbes is increased, so they can outperform the pathogen microbes and this helps keep harmful soil diseases down.
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Trev62 wrote: 03 May 2023, 19:52 Mustard seeds are hard to come by here
What about in the supermarket (presuming you have them)? I know in the Asian section here in the UK (where aisles are dedicated to products used by Asian communities), you can pick up a big bag of brown mustard seed (used a lot in Indian cooking) which should still germinate.

The only thing you really do need to be careful of is that as a Brassica, it should be used in crop rotation to prevent build up of pests / diseases that affect the cabbage family (particularly Clubroot)

By the by, I'm not sure if using mustard would really repel Colorado potato beetle as obviously I have no experience but just something I wondered. If nothing else, it can be used as a green manure and dug in as a soil amendment.
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Re: And so it begins........Colorado beetles

Post by Spreckly »

We got the beetles on our lilies each year, a case of hunt the beetle, but as the lilies appear not to have survived, I will not be having to search and kill them. They are a pretty thing, though, but cause so much damage.
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Re: And so it begins........Colorado beetles

Post by Trev62 »

lancashire lass wrote: 04 May 2023, 09:18
Trev62 wrote: 03 May 2023, 19:52 Mustard seeds are hard to come by here
What about in the supermarket (presuming you have them)?
We do but I tend to avoid using them. They do not have the diversity of choice as per UK stores and are very expensive to purchase from with prices rocketing every week. The two main ones are owned by the same company so not much chance of any competitive pricing!
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Re: And so it begins........Colorado beetles

Post by Trev62 »

Still squishing and squashing, only found @ 50 today so doing okay, no larvae to be seen so the egg removal is paying dividends at present but it takes me nearly 2 hours to thoroughly check all the plants. Roll on next year and we will try out the mustard seeds )t'
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Re: And so it begins........Colorado beetles

Post by Trev62 »

Still picking the little blighters off, @ 60 today and loads of eggs, thankfully no larvae so far meaning damage has been minimal. They are clever little bugs as they drop from the leaves as you search for them landing upside down so making them hard to spot on the soil.
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Re: And so it begins........Colorado beetles

Post by Trev62 »

Another solution has been recommended to me which is to spray the plant foliage with a solution of neem oil then as they flower switch to throwing some DE on the soil where the stems are. Sounds logical but I am not fully convinced so may have to run an experiment using different methods and comparing the results next year.

This year our efforts have been rewarded, so far, half the crop up and harvest has been amazing. If the second half have produced the same then we will set for the year. A good result. )t'
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