The Q&A Archives: Sweet Alyssum Pests

Question: I have lots of sweet alyssum in my garden and they have all been destroyed by this bug that looks like a lady bug, but has stripes instead of spots. The plants are filled with these bugs and I would like to know how to get rid of them. I have had to throw several whole plants away, because they have been eaten down to the stem. Thanks for the help.

Answer: Your description of the bug makes me think you have an overpopulation of Potato Beetles. They generally feed on the foliage of potatoes, eggplant, tomatoes and peppers, but are also opportunists, especially when their favorite plants are unavailable. There's a botanical insecticide you can use (Bacillus thuringiensis) against the pests, or you can import a parasitic wasp (Edovum puttleri) to prey on the critters. Be sure to read the pesticide label, making sure both the pest and the host plant are listed. Then follow the directions, applying thoroughly and as often as recommended.

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