Pest Control

life_cycle : Mexican Bean BeetleNotes From Steward: Pest Control

Out at the garden today, I saw lots of cucumber beetles and my first squash beetle! UgH!

I used a Tomato Vegetable Spray that has pyrethrum, an organic pesticide. It seemed to knock the beetles down. I sprayed and weeded and came back,–no beetles. However, I will have to keep spraying.

If you do not have any bugs on your squash and cucumbers yet, you could try covering them with a row cover called “Remay”. You will notice that many gardeners have this white filmy fabric over their plants. You can buy it by the roll or in a package at Wentworth Greenhouse in Rollinsford. My squash plants that were covered with Remay did not have bugs. You have to remove the Remay once the plants get large enough to start vining out. The Remay does protect young seedlings from cucumber beetles, cabbage butterflies, and squash vine borer moths.
The good news is that I saw a number of lady bugs–always our friends– and there are a number of papery praying mantis egg cases in the garden. The mantis is an excellent predator. There are many wasps that have useful phases in their life cycles that help to rid the garden of pests. One type lays eggs on the tomato hornworm caterpillar. When the larvae hatch they devour the caterpillar! I love to let the bugs duke it out if possible.

See you in the garden.


Colorado Potato Beetles-Not just for potatoes!

Colorado Potato Beetles are back in the garden. Here they are in all their stages. The best way to manage these is to put on a pair of gloves, pick them off your plants and squish them. Sorry, but these guys are resistant to just about every other method, including natural predators. They over winter in the soil and in the field margins. They also eat tomatoes, eggplant and pepper. Crop rotation can help but is difficult in a Community Garden setting. If you see them on your plants or someone else’s please eliminate them! Thanks