Happy Summer Solstice. Although gardens are slow to grow this year, the insects know what time of year it is and they're out in force. Particularly, the beetles.
There are a variety of beetles that attack our vegetables and flowers this time of year. Let's review a few. If your seedlings and young transplants have shotgun-like holes in the leaves, look for the black flea beetle. This beetle is only a problem on young plants, but can be devastating. Dust with Diatomaceous Earth or kaolin clay to thwart them.
While most gardeners are finishing up their asparagus harvest, the asparagus beetle has been feeding and laying eggs on the ferns. Weak ferns means fewer asparagus spears next year. Watch for the black beetle with cream-colored spots or orange beetle with black spots. Hand pick them. Also, watch for the black eggs and small, dark colored worms that really cause damage. Spray these larvae with Neem oil.
As the weather warms, cucumber beetles are out. The yellow with black spots or striped cucumber beetle loves cucumbers, squash, and melon plants. Their feeding can kill plants and spread disease. Hang yellow sticky cards coated with tanglefoot, right above the plants, to catch the adult beetles as they look for the yellow flowers. Handpick in the morning as well.
On Asiatic and Oriental lilies watch for the red lily leaf beetle. It lays eggs on the underside of leaves and they hatch into black, slug-like larvae devours your lilies. Grow resistant lily varieties, such as Madam Butterfly, hand pick adults and spray the larvae with Neem oil.