Battling with beetles and bugs
When leaves are being chewed without any sign of culprits, it’s either birds or beetles.
As the weather settles and temperatures rise, a lot of plant damage will be caused by either grass grub beetles or black beetles as they hatch out.
They come out at dusk to feed, mate and lay eggs during their six weeks as an adult, damaging hibiscus, citrus, roses, beans and brassicas.
Gardens adjacent to farm paddocks or playing fields can be subject to swarms of beetles.
Just after dark, check affected plants with a torch.
If there are beetles, mix up Wallys Super Neem Tree Oil at 5ml per litre of water, plus 1ml of Key Pyrethrum and 1ml of Raingard.
Spray any beetles on the foliage directly.
The pyrethrum is a quick knock-down while the anti-feeding properties of Super Neem Oil will restrict further damage.
Pyrethrum will be deactivated after a couple of hours of sunlight; the Super Neem Oil will last on the foliage for 7 to 10 days, with increased protection from the Raingard.
If there are vast numbers of beetles, spray every night for a while.
Other insect pests are starting to emerge from winter dormancy to begin building up their populations.
Knock out these early starters to lessen insect pest problems later in January and February - unless they are invading from untreated gardens nearby.
Use Sticky White Fly Traps as a first line of defence.
These can be hung off stakes outdoors or from the roof in glasshouses.
Ideally the trap should be just above the growing plants and raised as the plants get taller.
The traps are 250mm x 100mm with a special sticky substance that stays sticky all season catching whitefly adults, psyllids, aphid adults, and a variety of other insects.
Neem Tree Granules or Powder, applied to the soil or growing medium in the root zone is the next line of defence. Make sure the granules are dark and pungent. - it means not all the oil has been extracted, making them more effective than lighter coloured granules. The oil leeches out into the soil and is taken up by the plant’s roots.
Insect pests feeding on the roots get a dose of Neem and stop eating.
The advantage is removing the need to spray while not harming beneficial insects such as ladybirds and bees.
The strong neem smell can also confuse some insect pests so they cannot sense their host plants.
Third line of defence is the new Wallys Super Neem Tree Oil.
To prevent burning, use only late in the day when the sun is low on the horizon.
Safe to use, the active component azadirachtin has been demonstrated to be of low toxicity.
Spraying under the foliage of plant’s leaves is important as most insect pests are under the foliage protected from predators and weather.
Always tip out any unused spray onto the soil in the root zone, and rinse the sprayer out with clean water.
Problems ring me at 0800 466 464 (Palmerston North 357 0606)
‘‘Gardens adjacent to farm paddocks or playing fields can be subject to swarms of beetles. Just after dark, check affected plants with a torch. ’’
Black beetles not only infest pasture, they can be the bane of home gardeners too.