Common Garden Pests – The Beetles

In our battle with pests, today we will tackle a commonly heard pest, THE FEROCIOUS Beetle.

Its name itself sometimes resonates a war cry!

Battle with beetle??!!

The Bettle Family
Unlike other pests, beetles are one of the more common types of insect pest. These belong to the insect Order Coleoptera. This order consists of about 4,00,000 species, making this order as largest among all, constituting about 40 percent of described insects and 25 percent of the known animal life-forms.

Argus Tortoise Beetle

In Latin language coleopteran means (Coleo- sheath; ptera; wings) ‘folded wings.’ Like other insects, beetles also have wings, but the forewings (technically called elytra) are very thick and hard. They aren’t meant for flying but gives the protection to insect body and hind wings which are folded and hidden under the front wings.

The front wings of the beetle aren’t meant to fly, but to provide protection to rear wings

Crops preferred for feeding
Beetles feed on crops such as potato, turnip, beans, strawberry, soybean, corn, lawn grass (turf grass and Kentucky grass), and cucumbers.

Cucumber Beetle (Yellow Lilyle)

Scarlet lily Beetle (Red Beetle)

Blue Leaf Beetle

Adult or Grubs- Who will cause more damage?
Both adults and grubs will cause the damage to the plants and trees. Beetles belonging to the family Scarabidae are called white grub (larval stage), which are more dangerous as they survive in soil and cause damage by feeding on the root of the plants especially in the turfgrass lawn. All the grubs belonging to Scarabaeidae family are C-shaped and vary in their sizes.

What do they feed on?
Beetles feed on plants, some small insects, animal fibers, soil organic matter depending on the species they belong. Some Examples:

  • White grubs feed on organic material in the soil. This helps in the decomposition of Organic matter in Beetles also in Farm Yard Manure (FYM) decomposition.
  • Rhinoceros beetle feed on coconut trees by boring the crown region of palm and also they cut through the growing palm leaves. When they grow out and unfold, damage can be seen in V-shaped cuts in the front or holes through the midrib of the leaf.
  • Ladybird beetle/ladybugs/lady beetles are the insects which stand first in the line of defense for the home gardeners against many soft-bodied insects.

These feed on insects like aphids, spider mites, scale insects, whiteflies, leaf beetle larvae and some insect’s eggs and small caterpillars.

Kind of damage to look for?

  • Skeleton-like leaves caused by adults feeding on the tender parts of the leaves between the veins.
  • Some species make tiny circular holes on leave as they feed.
  • Grubs feed on root, leaves, and fruits which are at the ground level.
  • In case of severe infestation on trees; the trees give a scorched appearance.

How to manage them?

  • Ideally, it’s best to collect and destroy all adult beetles.
  • When in soil cultivation, plow the land in summer so that hibernating grubs and adult beetles will get exposed to sunlight and die.
  • To get rid of bark-eating beetles and coconut rhinoceros beetles a hooked wire can be used to extract and destroy them.
  • Control weeds as and when they are noticed, as these weed plants can act as a harbor for

HappyGardening!

Sushma completed her B. Sc. from College of Horticulture, Hiriyur and M. Sc. from College of Horticulture, Bengaluru. She is an avid gardener with expertise across soil based and soilless gardening techniques using substrates.

Got a Query? or Have something interesting to share that can help other urban farmers? Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.