Have you noticed large velvet-green beetles crawling around your fig tree lately? Those are likely fig beetles, and in large numbers, they can cause damage to your fig crop.
The good news is that there are some natural ways to do away with these pests. In just a few easy steps, you can create natural repellents and traps to control figeater beetles and protect your fig trees.
Fig beetles (Cotinis mutabilis), also known as green fruit beetles, are common pests that feed on ripe fruit like figs, tomatoes, and pears. These big green beetles can swarm and attack your crop.
The adult beetles feed on the ripening fruit, creating small holes in it and eating its flesh . However, fig beetle larvae (crawly backs) thrive on manure plies and mulch.
How to Get Rid of Fig Beetles Naturally
You’ll want to take action as soon as you spot signs of an infestation to avoid losing your precious crop. To get rid of these green flying beetles organically, you have a few options.
1. Row Covers
Using row covers is an organic, non-toxic way to shield your harvest from damage by fig beetles.
When combined with good sanitation like pruning and clearing dropped fruit from around the base of plants, row covers can be very effective at reducing these fig pests’ populations.
2. Pick Them Off
Manually removing bugs from your tree is one of the most effective natural methods.
Check your tree regularly, especially in the middle of the day when the beetles are most active, and pick them off by hand.
Next, drop the critters into a bucket of soapy water to kill them. You can also tap infested branches over a sheet to collect the beetles as they fall.
Disposing of the beetles will help reduce the overall population and limit damage to your tree.
3. Remove Food Sources
To help get rid of figeater beetles, you need to eliminate access to food sources that are attracting them.
They are drawn to overripe and damaged fruit. Therefore, regularly inspect your figs, apricots, grapes, and other susceptible crops.
Pick all ripe fruits, as well as any that have fallen to the ground. The overripe and fermenting fruit releases a gas that signals the beetles that food is available.
4. Natural Predators
Attracting natural predators is an eco-friendly way to control fig beetle populations.
Some options to consider include toads, birds, and rodents. Digger wasps may also go after fig beetle grubs .
Provide habitat for these beneficial creatures to encourage them to come around.
5. Sticky Traps
Another fig beetle control method is sticky traps. Like double-sided tape or glue boards, these traps can be an effective way to catch and eliminate these critters.
Place several sticky traps over the top and around the host plants. The beetles will get stuck to the adhesive as they crawl over the traps. Replace the sticky traps once they get covered in beetles and dust.
You can also make DIY fig eater beetle traps using cardboard, glue, or petroleum jelly. Coat one side of a cardboard square with glue or petroleum jelly and place it glue-side up in areas where you see the beetles.
The beetles will get stuck to the glue as they walk over the cardboard. Check and replace these homemade sticky traps regularly.
6. Beneficial Nematodes
Beneficial nematodes are microscopic roundworms that prey on fig beetle larvae and other soil-dwelling pests.
You can purchase these nematodes and apply them to the soil around your fruit trees. The nematodes will then hunt down the beetle grubs and parasitize them, killing them within a few days.
7. Neem Oil
Neem oil is an all-natural pesticide that can repel fig beetles, rosemary beetles, and other common garden pests.
When used properly and consistently, it is very effective at protecting garden crops and ridding them of damaging insects.
The oil has a strong smell, but it will fade once dry. Using neem oil is an organic way to control fig bugs in an environmentally friendly manner.
Therefore, make a homemade neem oil spray by mixing 2 tablespoons of pure neem oil with a gallon of water and 2 teaspoons of a mild detergent.
Spray this solution thoroughly on your fruit and vegetable trees.
8. Diatomaceous Earth
This is a natural powder that can help eliminate fig beetles. The powder will dehydrate and kill them.
To use diatomaceous earth, simply dust it on the leaves and around the base of your plants. Reapply every few days after rain.
The powder is non-toxic to humans and pets, but it will dehydrate any insect (with an exoskeleton) it comes into contact with.
9. Captain Jack’s Deadbug Brew
Captain Jack’s Deadbug Brew contains Spinosad. This natural substance paralyzes the target insects’ nervous systems and causes death within 1 to 2 days.
The good thing about this natural pesticide is that it can be used on these insects and is not likely to harm spiders, beneficial insects, or predatory mites.
10. Surround WP
Surround WP is on the OMRI list as an effective crop protection. This product is made from Kaolin Clay that has been approved for agricultural purposes.
The clay forms a barrier on fruit or vegetables that will protect against pests. This white barrier is not only effective in repelling pests; it also causes confusion and irritation.
The barrier can also protect against egg-laying and feeding. Moreover, you can use Kaolin clay on wine grapes, tomato plants, apple trees, and other fruit trees.
The product is highly effective against May/June beetles, Apple Maggots, Japanese Beetles, and other pests.
Whether you call them fig tree beetles, mayate bugs, or western green June beetles, the key is to start early before the infestation gets out of hand.
Be vigilant, take action at the first signs of damage, and reapply these natural remedies regularly to keep the beetles away for good.
With some patience and persistence, you can win the battle against fig beetles using simple, eco-friendly solutions. Your fruit crops will thank you! Now go forth and conquer those beetles!