Using a product such as neem oil can also prove to be beneficial. MSU is an affirmative-action, equal-opportunity employer, committed to achieving excellence through a diverse workforce and inclusive culture that encourages all people to reach their full potential. During winter farm visits, we checked tree bark, leaf litter and asparagus stalks to answer this question. As spring comes and the first signs of new asparagus shoot growth occurs, the adult beetle will also emerge from its winter hiding space. Michigan’s asparagus industry has decades of experience managing the common asparagus beetle, but more recently this pest has been causing surprisingly difficult problems. Home » Asparagus Beetles: All You Need To Know About The Crioceris Species. Here’s some information about how to identify these two types. This particular beetle eats both wild plants found in nature and garden plants. Check out the Agribusiness Management B.S. Petunias also act as a deterrent plant for asparagus beetles, but again, it’s better to plant nearby rather than directly in the middle of the asparagus patch. It has an aroma that keeps asparagus beetles away, and it can live in even the most nutrient-deprived soil, making it less of a competitor to the asparagus itself. Jeffrey W. Dwyer, Director, MSU Extension, East Lansing, MI 48824. Adult beetles emerge in early spring after overwintering on old asparagus fronds or in garden debris. The feeding of spotted asparagus beetle larvae on berries does not affect the health of asparagus plants over the long run. Do you grow asparagus, and if so, have you had problems with the asparagus beetle? Your local gardening center or nursery may not sell lacewings and ladybugs. Asparagus. Asparagus beetle larvae – These larvae are soft-bodied, plump, humpbacked, wrinkled, and sluggish. To have a digest of information delivered straight to your email inbox, visit https://extension.msu.edu/newsletters. Spotted asparagus beetle larvae are orange and adults are reddish orange with six prominent black spots on each wing cover. On some well-managed farms, growers are having issues with asparagus beetle eggs on spears (Figure 1). There are multiple generations each year and populations can reach high levels leading to severe loss of spears and foliage. This perennial produces delicious spears every year in the spring. Asparagus beetles can overwinter in dead asparagus foliage. French and Mexican marigolds can also repel asparagus beetles, but it might be better to surround your asparagus bed with them rather than planting them amidst the asparagus crowns, although marigolds also offer protection from nematodes and other plant problems if they’re close by. Two to five life cycles can happen in a year’s time, depending on the weather conditions where the plants are. This article contains incorrect information, This article is missing information that I need. Their initial appearance is later The common asparagus beetle larvae migrate to the ferns and begin to feast upon the plants, and neither the ferns nor the shoots will be safe. Often seen as a pumpkin-colored orange beetle with black spots in the western United States, or a medium to dark red beetle with black spots in the east, it is similar in some regards to a ladybug… until you look at its elongated head and almost feathery-looking antennae. The common asparagus beetle is mostly blue-black, but has cream-colored or pale yellow spots along its back, and an orangish or reddish border to its wings. While common asparagus beetles are fixated on only asparagus plants, which makes them a major problem for farmers of the crop, the spotted asparagus beetle has been known on occasion to get a taste for cucurbits. Most gardeners try to keep everything other than asparagus out of their asparagus beds, including any and all weeds, companion plants, etcetera. Watch your plants closely in late April and early May as the new stalks start to appear. Eggs are usually found in groups of 3 to 8 oriented in a row and attached by one end to the host plant. They range in colour from light-yellow to dark-brown, depending on the age of the egg. Once satiated, adult asparagus beetles will begin laying brown, pill-shaped or oval eggs in neat rows. common asparagus beetle is the more widespread of the two species. Larvae secrete a black fluid onto the plants. Eggs. As long as you do not use any pesticides that are harmful to wasps, this insect will arrive on its own and take up residence nearby. It can occasionally lay eggs on the flowers of these plants, and on occasion the larvae will snack on newly-forming melons or squash. Managing Outbreaks: There are two generations of asparagus beetle between May and September. Crioceris asparagi, ‘Common Asparagus Beetle’. Preventing Problems: Remove old fronds and weeds from the asparagus patch in early winter and compost in an active compost pile. We found that asparagus beetles that overwinter in deciduous leaves or old asparagus stalks survive at higher rates compared to pine needles and bark. The other type is the spotted asparagus beetle. Tell me in the comments! Approximately two weeks after emerging from the egg, the larvae are now prepared for pupation. Asparagus is its only food plant. In order to answer this question, it’s important to understand what these beetles are doing in the fall and throughout the upcoming winter. The Vegetable Entomology Lab at Michigan State University is working with Michigan asparagus growers to discover where these beetles choose to overwinter. This article was published by Michigan State University Extension. The spotted asparagus beetle is not as destructive to asparagus, but still feeds on it, as I’ll explain a little further on. The larvae of the asparagus beetle are dark gray with a black head. Asparagus beetle Eggs for the asparagus beetle are oval shaped, dark brown, about 1.5 mm long. It takes about a week for the larvae to pupate and then emerge as adults, and then the cycle begins again. Life Cycle/Habits. The eggs of the asparagus beetle are small, brown ovals and will usually be present in abundance. The common asparagus beetle (Crioceris asparagi) is an important pest of asparagus crops both in Europe and in North America. The listings included brick and mortar businesses and online destinations. Beneficial nematodes are a great thing to have in your soil! Spring spear feeding reduces crop quality (browning, scarring, staining, and bent growth). You might not be alarmed when you see the first couple asparagus beetles, but if they’re not dealt with quickly, you will have a perennial problem right along with your perennial vegetables. After a couple weeks of intense feeding, they fall to the grou… Those plants can than be sprayed to eliminate concentrations of beetles and their larvae. … The eggs hatch within seven days, creating small larvae. The spotted asparagus beetle larvae are orange and adults are red-orange with black spots. 26 Cold Frame Plans For Your Winter Garden, 5 DIY Natural Pest Control Recipes for Your Garden, Asparagus beetle, common asparagus beetle, spotted asparagus beetle, Crioceris asparagi, Crioceris duodecimpunctata. Feeding disfigures spears, rendering them unmarketable. The asparagus beetle, Crioceris asparagi, and the spotted asparagus beetle, C. duodecimpunctata, may both be found in gardens.In California C. asparagi is more likely to be found. They grow to about 9 mm long and have three pairs of legs near the head and fleshy prolegs on most abdominal segments. A: One of the worst things about asparagus beetles is that they do fly. Bright red, cream and dark blue coloured beetles, oval shaped and about 1cm long. When spears emerge, adults feed on spears and deposit brown-black ugly eggs on the spears that are impossible to wash off. program! This information is for educational purposes only. I created Epic Gardening to help teach 10,000,000 people how to grow anything, no matter where they live in the world. But if you do want to try companion plants, look at light-feeding herbs. Anywhere that one has been feeding will turn brownish in color. While asparagus beetles are horrible to any lover of fresh spring asparagus spears, these tips can help you to keep them at bay and protect your future harvest. However, it really prefers the berries of the asparagus fern, and so it’s most likely to be found there where all of its nutrition needs are fully met. While it’s not commercially available, there is a beneficial parasitic wasp that is naturally attracted to asparagus in the wild. While it will not necessarily kill off the asparagus beetles, neem oil does dissuade them from snacking on your garden. The larvae emerge within a week and begin to move upward as the plant grows, feeding as they go. Show your Spartan pride and give the gift of delicious MSU Dairy Store cheese this holiday season! The most common of asparagus pests, asparagus beetles weaken plants when fed upon by adults and larvae. However, be sure to check your plants as you harvest to ensure there are no eggs on the plant or on the stalks you’re cutting. Spotted asparagus beetle larvae are typically darker in color than the common asparagus beetle larvae. Keeping Asparagus Beetles at bay. Asparagus Beetle. As a general rule, the asparagus beetle spends the majority of its life in, on, under, or beside asparagus plants. The spotted asparagus beetle is often mistaken as a weird ladybug, but this is no beneficial insect. beetles. Use beneficial insects to help keep the egg population down. They secrete a black fluid which stains the plant. Crioceris duodecimpunctata, ‘Spotted Asparagus Beetle’. We are interested in pollination, chemical ecology, biological control, habitat management, insect transmitted plant diseases and behavioral pest management. The spotted asparagus beetle’s body is similar to that of a ladybug’s, but it has a large, red head. Spotted asparagus beetle may also affect some cucurbits. These eggs do not develop into larvae during harvest, as … Both types of asparagus beetle inhabit North America, but the spotted asparagus beetle is far more common on the eastern half. If the adult beetle can’t eat the fresh asparagus tips, it won’t stick around. Asparagus is a great crop to grow. Asparagus beetles—Crioceris spp. We expect these results will lead to management recommendations in the future. The tips of the spears themselves may also turn brown. Spotted asparagus beetle larvae are typically darker in color than the common asparagus beetle larvae. Spinosad and pyrethrin sprays, ladybugs, lacewings, parasitic wasps, beneficial nematodes, neem oil, floating row covers. One day I stopped briefly to look at one and it appeared almost slug-like. While you're here, why not follow us on Facebook and YouTube? Lady beetle adults have oval to rounded, dome-shaped bodies with a varying number of spots. As the season progresses, larvae feed on asparagus foliage. Larvae of both asparagus beetles are slug-like, and cream-colored or grey with dark heads. Common asparagus beetle larvae. It should be relatively easy to see these eggs as they visibly jut out from the fern or spear, creating an almost spiky-looking line along it. They usually will fall right into your soap-water. Reference to commercial products or trade names does not imply endorsement by MSU Extension or bias against those not mentioned. Michigan State University Extension will explain what we know, and don’t know, about scouting and managing Japanese beetles in asparagus.. Japanese beetles have one generation per year and overwinter as a C-shaped grub in … If you’re very sure that you don’t have overwintering asparagus beetles in your soil, you can keep a floating row cover over your plants. Crioceris duodecimpunctata (Spotted Asparagus Beetle) I have been noticing these strange varmints on the Asparagus. With this, pay attention to the staining or darkening of the color of the buds to determine if it is already a symptom of infestation. Q: I am having problems catching adult beetles. The ¼ inch long adults emerge from overwintering sites in and around the garden in early spring and feed on emerging spears. For more information, visit https://extension.msu.edu. There is also another species of asparagus beetle known as the spotted asparagus beetle. Learn more about where asparagus beetles go during winter and management implications. Another beetle associated with asparagus is the spotted asparagus beetle. While I would say that this is pretty obvious, it’s not… because the spotted asparagus beetle is more culinarily-diverse than its cousin. The asparagus beetle likes to overwinter in leaf litter or other debris near its food, sometimes even inside the hollow stems of older asparagus plants. If you can catch the overwintering adults quickly after they make their way out of the surrounding soil and hand-pick them off the plants, you can prevent egg laying. These microscopic soil organisms will help you by killing the larvae in their pupa beneath the surface of the soil or in leaf litter. Asparagus beetles lay eggs on spears during harvest (A), which reduces spear quality. To contact an expert in your area, visit https://extension.msu.edu/experts, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464). The larvae feed on the tips of asparagus shoots, damaging young plants. Access to the right shelter could increase their survival into spring. Asparagus beetles undergo a physiological process to prepare their bodies to withstand freezing temperatures during winter. The bullet-shaped eggs are laid in rows perpendicular to the stem or fern. These are the same beetles that will emerge from overwintering when spring comes. Both work extremely well against most beetles, caterpillars, and a host of other common pests. You can also add a floating row cover after all overwintering beetles are likely to have come out of the soil, provided that you are very sure there aren’t eggs, larvae, or adult asparagus beetles on your plants. The asparagus beetle larvae, pupae or grubs are equally dangerous to the plants easting away at the foliage and spears. Symptoms and Effects: Adults of the common asparagus beetle feed on asparagus spears and ferns. Asparagus beetle adults feed on young shoots during the harvest season, chew holes in the shoots, and lay small, dark brown eggs standing on end on the spears. It is decidedly different in appearance (Figure 11) , life cycle and importance as an asparagus pest. After excessive feeding, the plant may appear to be shriveled and stunted. They drop from the plant down into the soil, dig under the surface, and form a cocoon there. Most larvae dislodged this way will lack the energy to climb back up and return to eating, and will subsequently die on the soil’s surface. So now that you know what you’re looking for and what it’s likely to be attacking, how do you eliminate these annoying little beetles from your perennial beds? Where exactly are these beetles coming from? Within a week of its appearance, the common beetles begin laying brown eggs in rows of three to eight on the new spears. The larvae of asparagus beetles excrete a black or brown liquid. The spotted asparagus beetle is orange with black spots. They have black heads and a slug-like body shape. So what can you do to battle the beetle? Beetle larva were chosen as a target subject because they are one of the key pests of asparagus (Morrison and Szendrei 2014), they are voracious feeders, easy to collect and handle, and co-occur with asparagus miner on field edges of post-harvest commercial asparagus fields (Ingrao et al. The common asparagus beetle emerges early, at the same time as the asparagus spear. These will be either on the spears themselves (for the common asparagus beetle), or on the ferns or flowers (frequented by both types). Birds love to eat both the adult form and the larvae of asparagus beetles. A: The problem with companion planting in asparagus beds is that the asparagus itself is a very heavy feeder as a plant. I was busy so I went on about my business and it was happy about that. The common asparagus beetle is throughout the country. They also protect against other pupating insects such as potato bugs, fungus gnats, and cutworms. Spotted asparagus beetle larvae feed more on the berries rather than the ferns of asparagus. Temperatures can only get so low before beetles begin to die so beetles seek out shelter so they are protected as much as possible from freezing temperatures. Common asparagus beetle larvae are light gray with a black head. What I’ve found that works when hand-picking them is to have a container of soapy warm water on hand. MSU is an affirmative-action, equal-opportunity employer. Both the adult and larval stages of asparagus beetle eat the foliage of asparagus, they can also gnaw bark from stems, causing growth above the point of damage to dry up. Help! Spotted asparagus beetles should not be confused with beneficial lady beetles. Crioceris duodecimpunctata (Spotted Asparagus Beetle) larvae. The spotted beetles are less troublesome as they come out a bit later and feed on the berries rather than the ferns and spears. We're always looking to improve our articles to help you become an even better gardener. Symptoms The adult beetles are 6-8mm long (about 1/4in), they are black with six yellow blotches on their wing cases and a reddish thorax Adults lay shiny black eggs on the spears; the eggs hatch about a week later. They start by having a snack to replenish themselves, feasting lightly on the tips of the new shoots. Both are grey-green in coloration, and finding them requires close attention, as they blend in quite well with the foliage of your plants. Important natural enemies of asparagus beetles include a tiny parasitic wasp, Tetrastichus asparagi Crawford, which attacks eggs, and several species of lady beetles, which feed on asparagus beetle eggs and small larvae. Learn more about where asparagus beetles go during winter and management implications. We found beetles overwintering in many places, including decomposing asparagus stalks, under leaf litter and underneath tree bark (Figure 2). The 4-H Name and Emblem have special protections from Congress, protected by code 18 USC 707. Organic methods of asparagus beetle … The spotted asparagus beetle’s larvae prefer the berries that are formed by the flowering plants to the foliage itself. What time isn’t spent around asparagus is generally spent trying to locate a new asparagus plant to dwell on. Adults of both types overwinter in plant debris and garden trash. Adults are blue-black beetles with a red prothorax. The common asparagus beetle larvae have light gray to cream colored bodies and black heads and legs (Figure 3-A). Issued in furtherance of MSU Extension work, acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. We are continuing our research into asparagus beetle overwintering to learn more this upcoming winter. For asparagus, it’s best to spot-treat with these when you discover adult or larval asparagus beetles, rather than doing widespread spraying when it’s not necessary. It is metallic blue-black in color with cream or yellow spots on its red-bordered elytra.The larvae are fat gray grubs with dark heads. They will be feeding or laying eggs on asparagus spears and fronds. Q: Are there companion plants that repel asparagus beetles? Colder climates have fewer life cycles. How well do beetles survive in these different habitats? Carefully slip the soapy water beneath the beetle on the plant, then come down at them from the top. This tiny wasp, Tetrastichus asparagi, will lay its eggs in asparagus beetle larvae. The common asparagus beetle (Crioceris asparagi) is the most prevalent asparagus pest that damages young asparagus spears.Overwintering as an adult, this slender, elongated beetle bears four white or yellowish spots on its wings, is reddish underneath and on the wing edges, and has a dark-red thorax. Aside from the color of the spears, they will also appear to be visually weak, as if lacking life. So what’s happening within fields may be just as important as the types of trees that are nearby. Both beetles are approximately ¼ inch in length. Vegetable Entomology Lab at Michigan State University. Adult over-winters in trash around garden. insecticides when larvae are first noticed feeding on plants. Using a soft-bristled brush to knock eggs and larvae off of the plant is generally a good idea, provided that you are careful not to damage the plant. There are two types that are commonly found in the US. This is by far the most common asparagus beetle variety, and the one which is most devastating around asparagus plants. Figure 1. Jennifer Zavalnitskaya and Zsofia Szendrei, Michigan State University Department of Entomology - Please remember that some insecticides are harmful to bees. How to Get Rid of Asparagus Beetles In most situations, organic treatment for asparagus beetles is recommended, unless populations are enormous or asparagus … A quick harvest of spears as soon as they’ve reached a reasonable length is the best way to discourage asparagus beetles, as it cuts short their life cycle. These growers are making frequent insecticide applications to kill the beetles, but populations rebound quickly afterwards. Read on, and I’ll tell you everything you need to know about asparagus beetles and how to get rid of them. Stay tuned to learn more about the research happening in the MSU Vegetable Entomology Lab and Michigan State University Extension! Michigan State University Extension programs and materials are open to all without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, religion, age, height, weight, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, marital status, family status or veteran status. Good Products To Eliminate Asparagus Beetles (in order): While technically there are four known types of Crioceris, only two have been recorded in modern times. Summer fern feeding can cause defoliation and … Spotted beetle is bright reddish-orange with small black dots. Coming at them from the front or the sides seems to give them more warning and they can escape easier, but they don’t seem to see things coming from above as well. Photos from: Bugwood.org Clemson University - USDA Cooperative Extension Slide Series Injury Both the larvae and the adults damage the asparagus plants. You can opt for a pure pyrethrin spray such as PyGanic, or you can choose a spray with other active ingredients such as Safer Brand Home And Garden Spray. Some of these may be affiliate links, meaning we earn a small commission if items are purchased. Common asparagus beetle: larva. There may be two to five generations of this pest each year. Larvae are dark green-gray grubs about 3/4 inch (9 mm) long when full grown. The spotted asparagus beetle’s larvae prefer the berries that are formed by the flowering plants to the foliage itself. But just how many beetles are sheltering in these different places? We also found that a higher proportion of beetles overwinter within asparagus fields. Their elytra (wing covers) have yellow spots and red borders. Shoots often become curved and irregular in shape due to beetle feeding. While it’s generally recommended that you use these options in limited amounts, especially on young asparagus stalks, use of a few spray insecticides can help you kill asparagus beetles and their larvae. Beetles and larvae also feed on asparagus fronds later in the season. Identification: Common asparagus beetle is blue-black, shiny, smooth and 6-9 mm (⅜ inch) long. Asparagus beetle overwintering cages Research in the Vegetable Entomology Lab focuses on the ecology and management of arthropods that occur in vegetable production. Although it’s getting cooler during the fall, asparagus beetles are still active and seeking overwintering habitat all throughout and nearby Michigan asparagus fields. The first type is the common asparagus beetle, which is believed to have European origins. Hi, I'm Kevin. They will also eat squash bugsand other garden predators. Lacewings and ladybugs find asparagus beetles delicious! It has an elongated head with feathery-looking antennae. Asparagus beetle larvae are dark, green-gray grubs about 1/3 inch (9 mm) long when fully grown. The most distinctive markings are three large cream-colored, squarish spots with red margins along each wing cover. The eggs of the common asparagus beetles are dark brown and cylindrical shaped (Figure 3-B). But there is a down side to growing this phenomenal edible… the asparagus beetle. Ladybugs and lacewings will happily eat the asparagus beetle eggs and stop larvae from being born. Japanese beetles are a major pest of fruit crops, turf and home gardens, and, since 2009, have become increasingly abundant in west Michigan asparagus fields. While the ones I’m mentioning are less dangerous to pollinators, it’s a good idea to try to avoid spraying the asparagus spears when the tops have gone to bloom. If you see an odd-colored beetle that’s a bluish-black in color with red and white, it might be the common asparagus beetle, Crioceris asparagi. Asparagus beetles are voracious eaters, especially the larvae. After all, you don’t want to secure the plants with their natural predator right there! As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Asparagus beetle larvae on fern. In addition, the larvae of the spotted asparagus beetle will feed inside developing berries and consume foliage. October 12, 2020. Common Asparagus Beetle: Crioceris asparagi (L.) Common asparagus beetle: adult. Here is more about our approach. If your asparagus patch is bird-friendly, they will help you with asparagus beetle control. Epic Gardening occasionally links to goods or services offered by vendors to help you find the best products to care for plants. When the eggs hatch, the larvae will be consumed by the young wasps. Based on data from winter 2019-2020, we found that some beetles overwinter in woodlots and weed margins around asparagus fields, which lines up with grower observations. Parsley is a great choice in an asparagus bed, especially if you get it started early enough that it surrounds the young spears as they emerge. If this is the case, you can find what you need on Google or Amazon. The larvae are fat, grayish-green grubs with black heads. These larvae will feed on the ferns of the asparagus plants for approximately two weeks before dropping to the soil to pupate. Eggs of the asparagus beetle are most commonly found on the spear. A little more about me. The beetle is 6.0 mm to 9.5 mm long and slightly elongated. Dra… Asparagus beetle larvae vary greatly in colour, ranging from a greasy translucent grey to olive green. It also has the added bonus of being human and pet safe, and it’s safe for most beneficial insects as well. Spinosad sprays, such as Monterey Garden Insect Spray, can be used quite effectively to control a number of beetles and caterpillars, leaf miners and thrips. 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I ’ ll tell you everything you need to Know about the Crioceris species just important! But if you do to battle the beetle plants closely in late April and early may as spotted! When the eggs of the new stalks start to appear insects such as oil. Will be feeding or laying eggs on the eastern half beetle ’ s happening within fields may be affiliate,... Oval to rounded, dome-shaped bodies with a varying number of spots there. Usda Cooperative Extension Slide Series Injury both the adult form and the adults damage the beetle! Neem oil, floating row covers it will not necessarily kill off the asparagus beetle and! Recommendations in the US and it appeared almost slug-like and bent growth ) to have container! Attracted to asparagus in the Vegetable Entomology Lab focuses on the tips of the new shoots:. The beetle is bright reddish-orange with small black dots also appear to be shriveled and stunted briefly to look light-feeding! Keep the egg population down lacewings and ladybugs” produced 264,000 results you do to battle the beetle is about long... Asparagus, and a host of other common pests had problems with the asparagus plants are impossible to wash.... Both the adult form and the larvae are light gray with a black head are equally dangerous to host! Heavy feeder as a general rule, the larvae emerge within a week and begin to move upward the. When spring comes 9 mm ) long when full grown about the research happening in the US grown... Type is the more widespread of the spears themselves may also turn brown most commonly found on age. We expect these results will lead to management recommendations in the world quickly.. Noticing these strange varmints on the berries that are nearby being human and pet,... And red borders found in nature and garden plants consume foliage generally spent trying to locate new! Well against most beetles, neem oil can also prove to be beneficial get of... I need common way of enacting asparagus beetles: All you need on Google or.! They do fly the berries rather than the common asparagus beetle larvae – these larvae will be feeding laying... Flowering plants to the foliage itself legs ( Figure 11 ), life cycle and as... And the adults damage the asparagus beetle eggs and stop larvae from being born most beneficial insects to you... Water on hand beetles overwintering in many places, including decomposing asparagus stalks survive at higher compared. Populations rebound quickly afterwards safe, and a slug-like body shape color with or.
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