In my vegetable garden, I am experiencing a weird level of bug activity. I have never grown cabbage, kale, bok choi or brussel sprouts before this year. The lovely Harlequin Bugs (Murgantia histrionica) has arrived in my plot for the first time. I spotted a nymph and an adult (actually, many adults by now!). They are definitely chewing insets and they enjoyed much of my cabbage.
These pretty critters are easily controlled by knocking them off into a can/bowl of soapy water. They can also be sprayed with numerous products: Pyola, as an organic option with Pyrethrin or an insecticidal soap is always a good organic choice. The best time to treat is when adults are spotted, before eggs are laid and when the nymphs are small. In fact, I never saw any eggs just a lot of adults.
I also located a few other beauties this year also.
* Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (Halyomorpha halys). If you have picked apples in the past few years, you might have come upon apples covered in brown tissue under the skin. These dang pests inject a toxin when they penetrate the fruit surface. They have become a HUGE orchard crop problem in Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and other states.
Local gardeners have had issues with squash and other produce in the past few years. One gardener recently told me she sprinkled garlic powder on her plants to prevent the stink bug from landing on her squash plants. Seems to be working, but I can't personally verify it yet.
* Spotted Cucumber Beetle (Diabrotica undecimpunctata). They are chewers also. In addition, they carry Cucumber Mosaic Virus and the Bacterial Wilt organism. This is why you cucumber plant leaves fail and wilt in the heat ~ they are infected by this insect that you might not even ever see.
The best treatment is keeping your garden clean of dead and dying leaves. You can also look into Pyrethrin based products to treat the adults on contact. If you take care of the little egg batches by simply rubbing them off of the leaf with your finger, you will obviously have less adults hanging around to chew up and infect your plants.
* Pink-Spotted Lady Beetle (Coleomegilla maculata). Never having seen this beetle before and it turns out this little creature is a beneficial insect! Good think I did not try to get rid of it!! It is like the regular, red lady bug - it eats aphids and other insects to control their populations in your garden.
* Japanese Beetle Grubs (Popillia japonica). I found LOADS of these this year in my garden under the leaf mulch as well as in our leaf mulch pile. They just gross me out!
If you know anything about the Japanese Beetle, you know that the larvae go through different stages before they come to the surface of the soil in the spring as a beetle. They are easily recognized by their C-shaped, white larvae with a copper colored head which is the last stage. Easy to dig up, smoosh, put in the trash, just about anything to get rid of them before they mature into chewing insects. Organically, you can spread Milky Spore powder to control the grubs.
Well, there are others which are issues in the garden but I have not seen them this year yet! Be on the lookout for aphids, scale, mealybugs, whiteflies, slugs, and loads of other beetles. Keep your eyes open so that you can treat them if you need to and be aware of the beneficial insects as well!
Isn't gardening fun?!