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Vermont Garden Journal: Dealing With Summer Beetles

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Once it gets warm out, you need to start keeping an eye on bugs in the garden. The asparagus beetle is one pest that can be trouble.

In Vermont, people wait months for warm weather and so do the bugs. These insects might an annoyance to humans, but they can damage plants in the garden if you don't get rid of them. Here are two bugs to watch for in the garden.Asparagus beetles

These beetles emerge with the spears in early spring. They’re oval-shaped and can be red or black.

Control these beetles by hand picking adults in spring and rubbing the eggs off the spears. Parasitic flies, ladybugs and birds will all feed on asparagus beetle larvae and adults, so avoid spraying pesticides unless absolutely necessary.

You can also destroy their over-wintering sites by cutting old ferns to the ground and cleaning up mulch and plant debris.

Flea beetles

This black beetle hops when disturbed, hence the name. You can tell they’ve been eating plants in your garden if you see shotgun-like holes in the leaves of seedlings such as broccoli, cabbage, eggplant and melon.

They're only a problem in spring, so if you can protect your seedlings, they should survive.

Control flea beetles by cleaning up plant debris and covering plants with a floating row cover. You can plant a radish trap crop to attract them away from your main crop and spray the trap crop with spinosad in the evening.

Charlie Nardozzi is a nationally recognized garden writer, radio and TV show host, consultant, and speaker. Charlie is the host of All Things Gardening on Sunday mornings at 9:35 during Weekend Edition on Vermont Public. Charlie is a guest on Vermont Public's Vermont Edition during the growing season. He also offers garden tips on local television and is a frequent guest on national programs.
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