Relax folks. This is not a rant trying to scare you into voting for any particular candidate. It's more in the vein of frustration over a pest I've fought a losing battle against for a number of years now. The HATED Northern Corn Rootworm beetle. This is their story.
I've pretty much given up on flowers that require a lot of sun or bloom in late summer. The first reason is that the yard surrounding our new house has a lot of oak trees. The second reason is that the El Qaida of the cornfields emerges in late August to do its dirty work on my flower gardens. I do, however, have a few sunny spots, such as the circle garden I planted with zinnias this year.Northern Corn Rootworm beetle
Biology: In general, the female lays eggs in the soil which hatch into larvae. Corn fields are especially preferred. All the larvae feed on roots and other organic materials in the soil. Eventually, the larvae pupate, emerge as adults and begin eating the corn silks. Northern corn rootworm adults also feed on reproductive tissues of the corn plant, but rarely feed on corn leaves. Northern corn rootworm adults are more likely than western corn rootworm adults to abandon corn and seek pollen or flowers of other plants as corn matures (Wright).
In plain language, from the corn field they can migrate into your garden and begin looking for other victims. The Beetle just likes to nestle in your blooms chomping away at the petals!
Control: Atrazine and a variety of other chemicals is used to control the pest in the fields. However, a narrow band is sprayed, which protects the roots but leaves much of the soil available for rootworm reproduction. For the nearby gardener this means a future horde will be ready, willing and able to attack in late summer and early fall.
I know a picture is worth a thousand words but the one I took of my zinnia patch last week is just too ugly to foist on anyone. The flowers were utterly destroyed and even the buds of newly emerging flowers are under attack. In years long past, I tried to counter-attack with chemicals. Even on a daily basis that proved largely ineffective. Today, I am of the opinion that there are just too many chemicals (especially for agricultural purposes) in our environment anyway. That's a subject for another time though.
Yikes! I'm glad that we don't have those here!ReplyDelete
Oh poor you!! And it is such a pretty beetle too!! Wonderful photographs and information.ReplyDelete
It looks like the corn fields close by are your doom. Hope nobody decided to plant corn in the large field behind my house. I like the hay field more everyday, never did NOT like it. But reading this really make me read it.ReplyDelete
Miss sustainable here would go right to the root of the problem...soil. What intices these beautiful destructive bugs to harbor there? A lack of micro-organisms to keep the soil in ecological harmony? Could it be that the habitat for the good bugs has been made insolvent? Perhaps...check out companion planting, test your soil...see what it needs to eventually outlast these predators. Look at buffer zones, rye is an incredible deterent root wise(some chemical reaction stuff...)to many common ails these days due to bugs and weeds. Takes time, research and a whole lot of patience...but, in my observations and experiences-eventually, nature left to it's own devices will and does correct in time- a balance. Mother Earth hugger signing off...take care-ReplyDelete
(Though do refer back to "Dear Citizen" post...good message there, luckily I heed the lessons, sometimes....)
Wow, you weren't kidding... you have been attacked! ACK!ReplyDelete
those dudes are U G L Y!
My biggest terrorists is powdery mildew...
killed my birdhouse gourds this year...
we just bought some guinea hens to get the horrible tick problem, slugs and japanese beetles ...
would they eat those bugs for you?
they're pretty cool birds...
Ew! Ew! Ew! That is the only thing I can think of when seeing these awful grubs! What a shame.ReplyDelete
Ouch! I'm sorry for your plants. I've seen them around here but they haven't really done much damage, that I know of...ReplyDelete
I definitely agree with you on not using pesticides. I think their use may be contributing to the loss of the bee population.
That zinnia picture is unbelievable. I've never seen anything like it.ReplyDelete
I see them on my roses but don't notice too much damage. Do you have Japanese beetles yet?ReplyDelete
I admire you for not resorting to insecticides. It would be a shame to kill the butterflies and bees in your garden.
This comment has been removed by the author.ReplyDelete
Yikes, indeed. Keep them up north, thank you! :(ReplyDelete
Wow - you are under attack! I'll send the peace keeping forces!ReplyDelete
Yipes! I've never seen so many bugs (besides aphids, that is) attack a plant! Are they at all related to the potato beetle? Does nothing eat them? I'm sorry...ReplyDelete
I feel for you. Those bear a close resemblance to the cucumber beetles who did a number on our zucchini, pumpkins, and cucumbers this year. Neem oil spray, and organic deterrent, had no effect. I say have your soil tested and see if amending is necessary. It's always a good start.ReplyDelete
We've got 'em here too. I usually just try and shake them off if I can. But, nature usually wins, so I try to enjoy what I've got before the bugs strike. At least these beetles don't bite like the Asian Lady Beetles that congregate in the soybean fields around our farm. Ouch!ReplyDelete