Beetlemania

Many species in the order Coleoptera

By Jessica Walliser

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Asparagus Beetle

Asparagus BeetlesThough this beetle has but one host, asparagus, its damage is extensive. Adults chew ragged depressions in developing spears, while the army-green larvae chew foliage, limiting photosynthesis and decreasing yields. Adults are 1/4 inch long. They are black with several cream-colored spots and red wing borders. Their black, elongated eggs are often found attached to spear tips.

Black Vine Weevil

Black Vine WeevilAdult weevils are black and 1/2 inch long with a short, broad snout. Black vine weevils, like aphids, are parthenogenetic, meaning females can lay viable eggs without the help of males. This pest feeds on some 100 species of plants, including many broad-leaved evergreens and perennials. The nocturnal feeding of adult weevils produces distinctive crescent-shaped notches in the leaf margins. The ground-dwelling larvae cause significant damage to plant roots in spring and early summer. The adult beetles do not fly, as their wing covers are fused.

Originally published in Organic Gardening Magazine, April/May 2012

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