The asparagus beetle is a pest you may find wherever asparagus is grown. It damages asparagus plants by feeding on the stems and leaves at certain times of the year.
Today, we’ll cover natural ways to deal with these beetles. Read on to find out some tried-and-true methods to rid your garden of them.
These destructive pests infest asparagus beds and feed on the spears and other plant parts . If left unchecked, they can weaken asparagus plants and make them unappealing.
How to Get Rid of Asparagus Beetles Naturally
As soon as you spot these pesky beetles, it’s time to take action. Keep reading for our top tips on how to naturally keep your asparagus safe from these beetles.
1. Pick Them Off
To keep your asparagus patch free of asparagus beetles, manual removal is one of the most effective ways to do so.
Although tedious, picking off adult beetles and larvae by hand is a safe and relatively easy way to deal with the beetles in your garden.
To pick them off, you’ll need to go out into your garden each day in search of them. Wear gloves if you don’t want to touch them directly.
Once they’re removed, drop them into a bowl or bucket filled with soapy water; this will kill the bugs quickly and effectively.
And if you see small black specs on your asparagus, those are likely the beetle eggs. Pick them off as well.
2. Beneficial Insects
It turns out, certain helpful insects can help you out as well! These insects feed on bugs on asparagus without causing any harm to the plant.
Ladybugs are a great example. They will eat asparagus beetle eggs and larvae. You can buy ladybugs from garden or home improvement stores or even online in bulk.
Green lacewings are another type of beneficial insect that can eat up those pesky asparagus beetles. Like ladybugs, you can buy green lacewings. They will also eat the eggs and larvae.
Ground beetles and social wasps are other asparagus beetle predators.
3. Beneficial Nematodes
These microscopic organisms feed on asparagus beetle larvae, killing them.
They are barely visible to the human eye, but they’re mighty allies in the war against asparagus beetles.
When you introduce them into your garden, they’ll search for beetle larvae and other small pests living in the soil, and kill them.
Make sure that when you buy them, they’re labeled with an expiration date. It is not recommended that you use them past that date.
4. Keep Your Garden Clean
Keeping your garden clean is one of the best organic ways to keep beetle populations under control. The key is to remove all the debris from your plants, including the fallen leaves and other plant material.
Doing this will deprive the beetles of potential overwintering sites and reduce their chances of surviving in your garden.
You should also make sure you practice good sanitation. By keeping your garden free of weeds and pruning any damaged or diseased plants, you can help limit the number of beetles that can reside in it.
5. Neem Oil
Neem oil can also help control the adult beetle population. It works as a hormone disruptor.
Besides, using it is simple. Make a homemade spray for asparagus beetles by combining two tablespoons of neem oil in a gallon of water.
Spray it directly on the spears. You can also use this home remedy as a preventative measure by spraying it every two weeks or after heavy rain.
6. Birds and Chickens
Utilizing birds and chickens in your garden is also a great organic asparagus beetle control method.
What makes them so effective? Birds, like many other beneficial predators, feed off invertebrates like asparagus beetle larvae. Chickens are also great at plucking beetle larvae right out of the soil.
Adding a bird bath in your garden can help draw in various birds that can help with pest control.
Besides, chickens are natural foragers, so you don’t need much room for active pest control—just enough space to roam around looking for grubs or worms.
7. Bacillus Thuringiensis (Bt)
Bt is a naturally-occurring bacteria that’s commonly used as an insecticide and specifically targeted against insect larvae.
How does it work? When the larvae ingest the Bt, it damages their digestive systems and kills them.
When used correctly, it can be a great long-term solution to the problem.
8. Row Covers
Row covers are simply sheets of lightweight fabric that you put over rows of plants. This creates a barrier to keep adult beetles from getting in.
The great news is that they are relatively inexpensive. Plus you can usually find what you need at just about any garden shop or online.
9. Harvest Early
Most of the damage from the adults occurs when they feed on new shoots during the harvesting season . So, harvesting early is an effective way to minimize this risk.
When you harvest early, you’re removing the food source from the plant, and starving out the beetles.
10. Hose Them
Hosing off the beetles when they appear is also an effective way to keep them away.
The good thing about this method is that it does not involve any recipe concoction — just plain water.
Besides, you don’t need any special equipment either. A regular garden hose should do the trick.
11. Soapy Water
You could also use soapy water to make a spray for asparagus beetles. The solution works great against many garden bugs.
All you have to do is mix 3 teaspoons of dish soap with a liter of water. Next, put it in a spray bottle and spray it directly on the asparagus leaves.
It will kill off aphids and help eliminate other asparagus bugs. Alternatively, you can buy insecticidal soap and use it as a spray to kill asparagus beetles.
12. Diatomaceous Earth (DE)
Sprinkle some DE on your asparagus plants. As the critters crawl through the powder, it will get between their joints and other spaces on their bodies.
The sharp shards will cut them up and dry them out. They will later die.
This is also a great way to remove large numbers of beetles quickly. Try using a vacuum cleaner to remove the critters from your plants.
To do this, go out in the evening when the beetles are actively feeding on your plants. Turn on the vacuum cleaner and move it over the plants, sucking up any beetles you see.
After you’re done, empty the contents of your vacuum and discard them far away from any nearby garden beds or asparagus patches.
14. Repellent Plants
Plants that repel asparagus beetles include basil, eggplant, petunias, and pot marigold. Utilize these as companion plants throughout or near your asparagus patch.
15. Bug Buster-O
For a more hands-on approach, why not buy a ready-made organic pesticide?
Moreover, Bug Buster-O spray is not only effective against common asparagus beetles and spotted asparagus beetles, but also flea beetles, aphids, and other small pests.
There are many ways to rid your garden of asparagus beetles organically. You can attract beneficial insects such as ladybugs and lacewings to feed on the larvae.
You can also use a vacuum cleaner to suck up and remove adult beetles, as well as handpicking if the infestation is minor. Finally, you can use some DE powder to kill them.
By following the remedies listed above, you can have an asparagus beetle-free garden without resorting to harsh chemical pesticides.