A little beetle passed me by.I love ladybugs. They are so tiny and cute and so helpful in the garden. This year my new roses had aphids and I bought a container of ladybugs and released them in the garden. Then I watched and they chased the aphids and ate the aphids and within a couple of days, the aphids were either dead or had moved on to happier ground. Of course, without the primary food source, the ladybugs quickly followed. But, every once in a while I see them back and smile.
He didn't make much fuss,
He ran around my garden
Like a tiny yellow bus.
~ Slyvia Gerditz
This fellow looked like a yellow-green ladybug. So I took his picture and smiled and said "hello". Then I "Googled" him and to my surprise, this insect is a real and dangerous pest! Also known as the 12 spotted cucumber beetle and the southern corn rootworm (in the larval stage), as an adult beetle he eats cotton, beans, cucumbers, soybeans and others. Even worse, in the larval stage, the worm eats through the roots of corn plants killing them. They are a widespread agricultural menace. Apparently, they were even banned in labs in Europe because it is so hard to get rid of them... and yet... they still managed to migrate on planes and such. OH! MY! I looked as his picture and saw that indeed, he was eating the daylily flower. If they have no flowers, they will make do with the leaves. Where are the birds to eat these pests? The cucumber beetle does not have many natural enemies. I did find a suggestion about a "cucumber beetle death repellent" that sounded strangely similar to the one for Japanese beetles. If you collect the beetles, drown them and blend them up with water into a solution (this sounds really gross) and then spray the solution on your plants they will not bother them. Hmm.. they aren't drawn to the smell of dead beetles? No surprise here, neither am I.
Since I don't relish bug mush in my blender, I quickly ran back outside and was going to collect this pest and squash him flat, even though the dotted cuteness made this difficult. Of course, he was gone and the daylily had this wedge eaten out of the flower... but now I know. And though cute and spotted... the spotted cucumber beetle is now on my list of bugs to squash and not feel bad about it. Who knew cute could be so deadly?
Almost didn't make it but Carmi's theme this week has been "spotty",no excuse me... "dotty". I am sure there are much better examples in his visitor's posts.
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