While asparagus beetles can be difficult to eliminate, using a product such as Safer® Brand Tomato and Vegetable Insect Killer rids your garden of them quickly.
So... What are Asparagus Beetles?
Two species of the Asparagus Beetle exist; the Common Asparagus Beetle & the Spotted Asparagus Beetle. Both species eat only asparagus and can be quite destructive to the young plantings in the Spring.
With a blue-black body of approximately 1/4" in length, the Common Asparagus Beetle has a colorful appearance. Green tipped antennae, a reddish thorax, and three yellow patches or spots on both sides of its wings are additional unique features.
The Spotted Asparagus Beetle is a little larger and has an orange-red body with six black spots on each of its wings. It has black eyes and black antennae.
Reproduction Patterns of Asparagus Beetles
After emerging from "overwintering," the beetles begin to eat the young shoots and tips of the asparagus plant. This usually occurs somewhere around early to mid-April, depending on the region's climate. Once they have nourished their bodies, they will begin the process of laying eggs.
In about 3-8 days, the eggs will hatch and the larvae will emerge. They start to eat the tips of the tender asparagus plantings. Upon maturation in about two weeks, the larvae will descend to the soil and build cocoons where they will undergo pupation in about a week or so.
The adults then emerge from these chambers and then the life cycle process starts all over again, with the new adults feeding on the asparagus plants and shortly thereafter, laying their eggs. There can be anywhere from 2-5 generations in one year, depending on regional climates and temperatures.
There are a few differences between the reproduction cycle of the two species.
First, the spotted asparagus beetles usually emerge from overwintering about 7 days later than the common asparagus beetles.
Second, instead of laying their eggs in young shoots, the spotted variety waits until the plants begin flowering before laying their eggs. They typically lay their eggs in plants containing berries so the larvae will have food after leaving their eggs. In addition, their larvae are darker in color than the larvae of the common asparagus beetle.
Asparagus Beetle's Habitat
Both species are found throughout North America, but the spotted asparagus beetle inhabits only areas east of the Mississippi River. During the winter, these beetles live under old plants and similar debris that provide shelter from the cold.
Using an insecticidal soap and pyrethrin mix, such as Safer® Brand Tomato and Vegetable Insect Killer, will keep your garden free from these destructive insects.
Symptoms of Asparagus Beetle Damage
Since they eat the shoots of the young, green asparagus plants and also chomp on the leaves, you will likely find holes in the leaves and plant structure.
The damage to the plant tissue will cause the tissue to take on a brownish color. Tips of the buds on the plants may turn brown as well. In addition, the plant will not look healthy, appearing almost shrunken and shriveled when it has been devastated by the beetles.
Results of Asparagus Damage Infestation
Since both species of the asparagus beetle infiltrate the asparagus plant for food and for laying their eggs, they can be quite destructive to the plant. The asparagus plant's growth will be stunted. The plants will not be healthy and will not produce good crops. With the quality of the crop diminished, they will not be able to be sold on the market.
Asparagus Beetle Controls
Pesticides that are compliant for use in organic production, can be a good method for eradicating these pests. Products like Safer® Brand Tomato and Vegetable Insect Killer utilize insecticidal soap and pyrethrin to cause paralysis in asparagus beetles and result in their death.
Insecticidal Soap and Pyrethrin - combined are the equivalent of a 1-2 knock down punch. The soap will penetrate their shell enough to weaken and dehydrate the insect and allow the pyrethrin to absorb in to the insect and do its job. Safer® Brand Tomato and Vegetable Insect Killer harnesses the power of insecticidal soap and pyrethrin to eliminate asparagus beetles from your garden.
Pyrethrin is a nerve agent and will paralyze and kill the insect on contact. Keep in mind this soap is not like dish detergent, it's a base from a blend of natural plant sources and pyrethrin oils and come from the chrysanthemum flower--an beneficial combination.
Spray Safer® Brand Tomato and Vegetable Insect Killer as a contact killer. Use in accordance with directions on the product label.
Safer® Brand offers a variety of asparagus beetle control and insect killer products to help control and eliminate this garden pest and revive your plants. Please check out our asparagus beetle control and insect killer products for more details about how they work and how, when, and where they should be applied.
If you are concerned about a plant or unsure of how it will react to these solutions, test an inconspicuous area and wait 24 hours before applying full coverage. As a general rule, much like watering, do not use any liquid insecticides in the peak of the day or when temperatures exceed 90°F.