Beetles in my potted Ficus Tree - Knowledgebase Question

Mesa, Ar
Avatar for azsweatpig
Question by azsweatpig
October 1, 2010
I have a 17 yr old ficus tree in a threeXthree pot in my LR. In turning the soil, I discovered scores of nail head sized black beetles. I've gotten rid of half the soil, but know there are more in the root ball. How do I treat the soil to get rid of them, or do I need to? The tree is fine, but not growing any larger.

Answer from NGA
October 1, 2010
I'd be curious to know what kinds of beetles are living in the potting soil! You can collect a few and take them to ASU Maricopa County Cooperative Extension office for positive identification. The beetles obviously like the moist soil but I don't know if they are feeding on the roots or the leaves of your ficus tree so I'm not sure how destructive they might be. You can control them by simply sprinkling diatomaceous earth on the soil. It's available in bags or boxes in your local garden center. Diatomaceous earth is the fossilized remains of diatoms and the particles are razor sharp so they scratch the hard outer coatings of beetles which kills them. It's safe for humans to handle but don't breathe the dust or it can cause problems. Be sure to apply according to label directions. This should control the beetle population.

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