Update on Beetles -- And QUESTIONS...

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by Pony, Jul 27, 2006.

  1. Pony

    Pony Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Okay, so I went out very early, just to see if there wasn't some way to avoid using Sevin on the garden.

    OMGosh! Are there that many CBs (Cucumber Beetles) in the WORLD??? It was a CLOUD all over the corn, the cucs, the spuds.... I am talking an infestation of Biblical proportions here! I think I may have a small idea of how the Egyptians felt when the Lord visited the plagues on them.

    Just this sinking feeling in the pit of my gut...

    The pumpkin flowers were so thick with beetles, I could barely see the flowers. {shudder} And the blighters (and I mean the term literally) weren't just on the cucurbits. Oh, no! They were in the corn, the beans, the peppers, THE BASIL!!!

    ugh.

    (Wonder why they leave the tomatoes alone...? Anyway...)

    Fortunately, I was out before the pollinators, so collateral damage was hopefully minimized. I mixed that stuff up so fast and sprayed it on. To be honest, I may have drowned a couple more than I poisoned them...

    Oh, it was just disgusting.

    Some thoughts:

    Last year, I had a LOT of beneficials. This year, very few. Usually, there is a lot of "bug" activity, but it's always been all kinds of bees and the other good guys. Where did they go this year? I did tear out a lot of mint on a fence across the yard this past Spring, to make room for my straw potato test bed. Were the mint flowers drawing the beneficials and pollinators?

    This Spring was not totally wet, but the rains did break the drought back in May, and we've had pretty consistent showers since then. Did that increase of water increase the number of CBs?

    Now that I've sprayed, am I committed to spraying the rest of the season? The rest of my LIFE??

    I've never done it before, and I realize that I HAD to spray or I'd have lost my entire pickle crop, but... I'm kind of sad that I did. I don't like the idea of being "married to the chemical company" as they say.

    Pony!
     
  2. WisJim

    WisJim Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Sevin wouldn't be my first choice. I keep some liquid rotenone/pyrethrin around just for emergencies such as you describe. I feel that Sevin is carried back to the hive by pollinating bees, while rotenone/pyrethrins just kill the insects they contact directly. Back when I had dozens of hives of bees, I lost a few that were near a corn field that was sprayed with Sevin, as the foraging honeybees carried it back to the hive and it killed all the bees in the hive.
     

  3. Twogun

    Twogun Zone 5

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    Yes, mint attracts beneficials as does most herbs. Buckwheat(also an herb) does also, but will draw every deer within a 5 mile radius! :)
     
  4. Pony

    Pony Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Sevin was NOT my first choice.

    You probably did not see my other posts about my ongoing battle with The Alien Cucumber Beetles from Outer Space.

    My first choice was planting out of synch with the CB mating cycle.

    Then, I put aluminum foil under the plants, so it would reflect light up and confuse them so they wouldn't lay eggs under the leaves.

    Those two measures have always been effective in CB control. (Note I said "control" and not "eradication" -- because I don't need to obliterate a species that may very well have some function, though God only knows what it is!)

    This year, however, things have been totally different. My favorite control measures didn't work.

    So, I used Diatomaceous Earth. Liberally. Frequently.

    When that was ineffective, I went to pyrethrin/rotenone. Followed the directions to the "T".

    That was also a disappointment, to say the least.

    So the use of carbaryl was my last resort. I did not do it lightly, nor without considering the effect on the environment.

    Frankly, if this doesn't work, I'm torching the whole blasted mess, I am THAT discouraged.

    Pony!
     
  5. free-2-b-me

    free-2-b-me Well-Known Member

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    We have cucumber beetles too for the very first time . I didn't know what they were till I looked them up . I did find on the internet that taking onion and scattering it at the base of the plants helps - and it did seem to .
    I also found a safe - nontoxic cure too - it's called Neem Oil .
    I ordered some (on ebay) . This stuff stinks - but it seems to be working .
    I won't use any chemicles on my garden - I'd rather the bugs ate it than eat poison .
    Neem oil works on any sucking type bug - won't hurt the beneficial bugs or earthworms . You have to spray the top and undersides of the plant because the bugs attack from both sides .
    I am also using it on my dogs who have this itch problem we can't figure out .
    I bought a quart of it - should last the whole summer or more .
    Do a search on Neem Oil and it's uses .
     
  6. via media

    via media Tub-thumper

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    f2bm, do you mean scattering a chopped up onion around or growing onions in the ground at the base of the plant?
    ------
    Changing gears:
    I have to take up for Pony here - I haven't posted in her threads much because I didn't have any ideas to help her but I have followed her CB battle updates for quite a while. My opinion is to start with the least-damaging method (hand picking, etc.) and move up incrementally as needed. In her case, Sevin was needed. At this point, I would support her if she ends up using a nuclear bomb in her garden :)

    /VM
     
  7. free-2-b-me

    free-2-b-me Well-Known Member

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    via media - chop the onion up and scatter around at the base of the plants - they don't seem to like them at all . I did this to a large plot of buttercup squash - it really slowed them down quite a bit . I have another small plot of volunteer squash that they were attacking but , I did not put any onion there - they continued to infest those plants .
    I sprayed them all with the neem oil solution 2 days ago and now I am only seeing a few here and there - it seems to be working good . Also sprayed my plum trees with the neem oil solution - the japaneese bettles have gone away .
    To make the neem oil spray - 1 quart of water - 1 1/2 tsp neem oil - 1/4 tsp of dish detergent . The dish detergent helps mix the neem oil with the water and helps it stick to the plants .
    What it does is - when the bugs chew the leaves of the plant that you have treated with neem oil it acts as a repelent first - when they eat it it causes a reaction that makes them starve to death , thus ending their life cycle and preventing them from laying eggs in the soil .
    Since the neem oil will wash away after rains or watering - it will have to be reapplied . I don't mind that at all since it is nontoxic - plus while I am spraying it gets on me and that keeps the bugs and misquitos off me too !
     
  8. Pony

    Pony Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks, /VM. :)

    Though a nuclear bomb may be a little much, I do believe in NNS: Neighborhood Nuclear Superiority. (And if anyone catches that reference, I will give him/her a shiny new dime!)

    It has been a battle, that's for sure.

    BTW, I thought that neem oil did have a certain level of toxicity. I mean, it does for the bugs, right? ;)

    Pony!
     
  9. free-2-b-me

    free-2-b-me Well-Known Member

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    Pony - Neem Oil must have a certain level of toxicity or it wouldn't work . From what I have read about it - it doesn't harm warm blooded animals or beneficial bugs or earth worms .
    Many organic farms use neem oil on their crops .
    This year is so very bad for destructive bugs - everywhere .
    I wish you luck in eradicating them from your garden . It is truely disheartening to put all the time and effort into gardening and then see this happen .