The Q&A Archives: Beetle Eating Japanese Anemones

Question: I have a beetle that is chewing through the leaves of my japanese anemones. They will eat them right down to the stem. These beetles are about 1/2 inch long, matte black (so they're not shiny) with grey around the edges of the hard shell-like back. Their bodies are also grey and much more cylindrical than flat. Originally I found them only on white anemones that were in substantial amount of sun. But now (2 years later) I have found them on my pink japanese anemones up in the shade.

So what are these pests?

And how can I best control them? I'd prefer to stay as organic as possible -- don't want to do in any spiders or such that may be these dang beetles' natural enemies. But I also am going to have to help any natural enemies along -- the infestation is pretty severe. I'm keeping it under control right now with daily spraying of a household bug spray.

Hoping to High Heaven you've got answers for me!

Answer: I think you're dealing with the Margined Blister Beetle. The adult is 1/2" long, soft-bodied, with hard, black wing covers and a gray or white band outlining each wing cover. The adults feed on foliage, fruit and flowers. If you handpick to control, wear gloves because the beetles secrete a caustic fluid that can raise blisters on the skin. You can use sabadilla as an insecticide.

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