Ask a Question forum: Four Lined Plant Beetle

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SE PA (Zone 6b)
DaisyDee
Jun 29, 2014 8:01 PM CST
Hello Everyone,

About three years ago, I started having a problem with these critters. They started out on my catmint, to the point of killing it off. They are now on a lot of other plants in my garden. They go for the tender new growth on the plants. Does anyone have any "non toxic" concoctions to rid my yard of these pests? Please share if you do.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Name: Anne
Summerville, SC (Zone 8a)
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Xeramtheum
Jun 30, 2014 5:46 AM CST
Hi Daisy and welcome!

Your best bet is Diatomaceous earth. It's a powdery substance that is not a poison and totally inorganic. It's made up of the fossilized remains of diatoms and to crawling insects it's like walking through glass shards. For beetles, it cut and scratches their exoskeletons causing them to dry out and when they groom themselves they ingest bits of it and it shreds their intestines.

Food Grade DE is totally safe for humans and animals to eat ... in fact it is sometimes used to worm dogs and livestock ... which means you can safely use it on veggies. You can also get DE with a bait in it so insects do eat it.

You can buy it on the web and sometimes you can find it in garden stores. You'll need to get a duster to apply it. Also be upwind of it when you do apply it because you don't want to be breathing the dust into your lungs!
"We were all humans until race disconnected us, religion separated us, politics divided us and wealth classified us."

Unknown

SE PA (Zone 6b)
DaisyDee
Jun 30, 2014 6:31 AM CST
Thank you very much for the response and for the welcome Smiling One more questions.....will the DE harm bee's??

Name: Anne
Summerville, SC (Zone 8a)
Be a voice - not an echo!
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Xeramtheum
Jun 30, 2014 6:37 AM CST
Unfortunately yes.
"We were all humans until race disconnected us, religion separated us, politics divided us and wealth classified us."

Unknown

SE PA (Zone 6b)
DaisyDee
Jun 30, 2014 6:44 AM CST
Darn. Okay....thanks again.
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Jun 30, 2014 6:52 AM CST
Check out a company called GardensAlive. They sell pest control products and while some may be harmful to bees, the labels explain the best time and way to use the products.

For example, one product is only harmful to bees while it it wet; once it dries it is bee-safe. You could keep your hive closed during that time period (if you are the beekeeper) or cover the area with a garden fabric like Reemay if that's feasible until the product dries.

I usually stick to hand picking, but I am an old retired slug with time to kill.

That reminds me of when I was a kid and a man in the neighborhood paid the local children to hand pick Japanese Beetles, rewarding the 'winner' who collected the most beetles with $5 and all of us with ice cream. Hurray!

Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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dyzzypyxxy
Jun 30, 2014 10:56 AM CST
As far as keeping the DE away from the bees, I just try to avoid dusting the flowers with it. The bees generally land on the flowers, not the leaves or stems.

Also if you dust the new growth before the plant blooms, even better, there won't be bees to be harmed.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Anne
Summerville, SC (Zone 8a)
Be a voice - not an echo!
Plant and/or Seed Trader Enjoys or suffers cold winters Hybridizer Birds Seed Starter Pollen collector
Butterflies Greenhouse Bookworm Bulbs Hibiscus Plant Identifier
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Xeramtheum
Jun 30, 2014 11:07 AM CST
Great advice Elaine. I love DE ... it knocked out a heavy infestation of white flies in just 36 hours.
"We were all humans until race disconnected us, religion separated us, politics divided us and wealth classified us."

Unknown

Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
Rabbit Keeper Critters Allowed Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages
Herbs Region: Georgia Region: United States of America Native Plants and Wildflowers Dog Lover Composter
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greene
Jun 30, 2014 11:51 AM CST
Another good thing about the DE is that after it has done its job to knock down the insect pests you can hose it off of the plants.
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
SE PA (Zone 6b)
DaisyDee
Jun 30, 2014 1:48 PM CST
Excellent advice from all.....Thank You :)
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Jun 30, 2014 5:41 PM CST
I have problems with fourlined plant bugs every year on Russian sage, catmint and other minty plants especially, so I'm assuming that's the critter we're talking about (technically not a beetle but a "true bug" so feeds differently, beetles chew while bugs pierce the plant with a beak and suck up the juices). No problem finding one in the garden for a photo op but only adults around at this stage, is this the pest in question?:

Thumb of 2014-06-30/sooby/f20e84

I either ignore the damage (there's only one generation a year), hand squish them if there aren't too many on a plant, or use insecticidal soap or Trounce (insecticidal soap plus pyrethrins). These sprays have to contact the bugs so best to apply when it won't dry quickly, like early in the morning. That has two other pluses, one is that the bugs tend to be more sluggish in the cool of the morning so not as evasive, and secondly the bees don't get up very early. And as Elaine mentioned, if you start treatment before the flowers are open that also helps avoid harming the bees.

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