Leaf-eating beetles, such as the green beetle (Colaspis favosa), bean leaf beetle (Cerotoma trifurcata) and the Japanese beetle (Popillia japonica), can cause severe damage to your plants in large populations. The beetles chew holes in plant leaves that are around 1/8 inch in diameter. Too many holes cause the leaves to become yellow or discolored. Some leaves die and fall off of the plant. The best way to protect your plants is to kill the leaf-eating beetles as soon as you spot them.
Confirm that you do indeed have a beetle infestation. The University of Minnesota recommends watching for potential beetles to emerge between 12 and 4 p.m.
Fill a 1-gallon bucket with warm water and a tablespoon of dish soap.
Put on gardening gloves and hold the bucket underneath the leaves of your infested plant. Pick the beetles off and drop them in the bucket. You may be able to tap the plant and watch some of the beetles fall off into the bucket. Most beetles hide underneath the plant leaves so check them thoroughly before moving on to the next plant. Repeat daily until you no longer spot any leaf-eating beetles.
Spray the infested plants with an insecticide that contains the active ingredient permethrin, esfenvalerate or carbaryl. This is often necessary for larger infestations. If the insecticide doesn’t come in a ready-to-use solution, you’ll need to mix approximately 5 ounces of the concentrated version with each gallon of water. Do this in a pump or backpack sprayer. Each gallon will cover up to 200 square feet. Spray the insecticide directly on the leaf-eating beetles. Always follow the product instruction label for safety and to accurately eradicate the beetles.
Things You Will Need
- Dish soap
- The Ohio State University recommends picking the beetles off the plant leaves either in the early morning hours or late in the evening. These are the times when the beetles are less active.
- Consider planting some of the following plants in your garden, as they are not plants that beetles frequent: foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 through 9, begonia (Begonia) in USDA zones 6 through 10, arborvitae (Thuja Occidentalis) in USDA zones 6 through 11, baby’s breath (Gypsophila) in USDA zones 4 through 9, carnations ( Dianthus caryophyllus) in USDA zones 3 through 10, forget-me-not (Myosotis scorpioides) in USDA zones 3 through 8, lilies (Lilium) in USDA zones 8 through 11 or violets (Viola reichenbachiana) in USDA zones 4 through 9.
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