Monday, 24 May 2010

Asparagus Beetle

Sorry to have to show you this horrid beetle photo, but we have an infestation of these nasty things on our allotment. The plot opposite mine has them big time and my poor little spears that are just coming through from the purple asparagus and the little ferny shoots that I'm trialing from Victoriana Nursery have them too. I wasn't sure how to deal with them, so I e-mailed Stephen from Victoriana Nursery and he gave some good advice and a link to his product that will help eradicate them. Here is what he said :----------

The beetles do no damage - its their larvae that nibble the emerging shoots and cause them to grow distorted like shepherds crooks.

The reality is there is nothing that will completely knock out the beetles as they emerge over a long period. Vigilance is the most important thing and pick off any beetles you see and more importantly cut any fern that you see tiny black eggs on (not yet I would think).

Something like

will kill some and put off a lot of the rest (we use it on our own beds - do you want some) and birds will help as well as will a hard Winter.

But ultimately you probably need to accept you'll get a few odd shaped spears each year; as you are not Tesco I'm guess that doesn't matter?

They will never kill the bed off.

SO some re-assuring words there from Stephen, which made me feel much better about it. I went up and gave a copy of his advice to my fellow plot holder and he and I went around picking off the nasty beetles and popping them in a bucket of water, there were so many, so hopefully we stopped many eggs being laid.

I hope you don't get them on your asparagus and if you do then I hope Stephens advice and his all natural organic product will help you.


Mrs Jones said...

Would netting off the bed not help? Some extra fine mesh like you use to prevent butterflies and white fly getting to the brassicas might stop it...

Ali said...

I am going to take a look at my asparagus now and give it a good inspection. Thanks for the warning. x

Maureen said...

ALI, hope you haven't got them on your asparagus. Stephen's advice is encouraging though.

MRS JONES, I don't think netting will help, but I will ask Stephen from 'Victoriana Nurseries'. Are you well now ?

Vegetable Heaven said...

I don't have asparagus any more (had them on my old allotment that we left 10years ago when we moved here.) They may not totally kill the crop but you do really grow the stuff for yourself don't you!

Carrie said...

NOOOO! I refuse to believe my lovely asparagus could have an enemy - why is life so cruel!
I shall be keeping an beady eye on the plants now for eggs and sorry but I shall show no mercy if I find any!
Good luck with your battle!

Mrs Jones said...

Yes, I'm fine now, although I'm rushed off my feet down my plot trying to catch up with everything, and this recent hot weather hasn't helped - I've lost a third of my brassicas which just shrivelled up into a crisp!

Vilt og vakkert said...


Hope to learn more of your "work" in the greenhouse.
But first I go to Sweden for a seminar learing how to teach young entrepreneurs- then in the weekend I will share my time between cleaning the boat and enjoying the "work" in the greenhouse!
Have a nice weekend ;:OD)

Maureen said...

Hi MRS JONES, glad to hear you are feeling better. Just to answer your question about the fine mesh over the asparagus. I asked Stephen from 'Victoriana Nurseries' and he said it wouldn't work as the beetles overwinter in the soil, and also the mesh would stop the birds eating them, which is what we want them to do.

Kella said...

Hi Maureen I have been a round for a while and all will be explained soon but this year I have also been visited by these same beetles, spotted a mating pair last weekend, killed them on the spot (I had a vague memory of what they were) but I will look out for any eggs and or grubs, now I know what to look for.

Thanks for sharing.

Dee said...

Thanks for the advise I shall be keeping a beady eye on mine! I thought they only emerged when the plants were young,well that's what I was told by a lottie holder and they were not a problem once the spears got established and fatter

Maureen said...

KELLA, hi there you have been missed. The eggs by the way look like little black hairs growing down the stems, they are that tiny, so I have been rubbing them off before they become larvae. This is off my daughters asparagus that she has recently been given. She only has around ten plants but they are smothered in eggs and beetles. Stephen from 'Victoriana Nurseries' has kindly posted his 'Bio-friend' off to me to trial, so I can't wait to try it out. Got to beat this infestation.

DEE, sadly you were miss-informed as the beetles and eggs are on my friends asparagus and they are big sturdy 3 year old plants, so keep a close eye on yours.

Window On The Prairie said...

I don't think we have those here, at least not here in Kansas, USA. Good luck getting rid of them.

Pam said...

This feeds into one of my biggest fears about allotments - once someone has an infestation of something, how do you stop it spreading?!
Not that we've ever had such a thing yet. Sure it won't be long though. Oh, the joys of growing. I do hope the biological stuff works.
P x

Matron said...

Yes they are horrid! I just try to squish any larvae I see each time I walk past the asparagus.

Damo said...

Sorry to hear that I hope the damage is not too bad.

Prospero said...

I'm with Carrie: why is life so cruel?

reid said...

I have been dealing with asparagus beetles for several'w WAR. Some advice

1.keep the ground around the plants clear and clean

2.try to remove as many of the little black dots you see on the plants (these are eggs). Especially next year when the plants first start coming up.

3.Destroy and kill as many of the beetles as you can (i keep a bucket of soapy water at hand and gently shake the beetles into that)
4.Destroy larva's easy but icky....simply pinch and squeeez.
5.cut off and remove all the parts of the plant that have been eaten....i find when you do this the plant grow more leaves which will help with next year's crop.
6.Ladybugs are helpful. I have purchased and release ladybugs the last two years and they do help
good luck from a small island in the States.