Growing asparagus is a long-term investment. It can take several years to establish an asparagus patch enough to produce a significant edible crop. Once it takes hold, however, it should produce plenty of spears reliably every spring for years and years to come. That’s why it can be especially devastating when an asparagus patch falls victim to pests. One very common asparagus pest is the spotted asparagus beetle. Keep reading to learn some spotted asparagus beetle facts and how to prevent spotted asparagus beetles.
Spotted Asparagus Beetles in Gardens
Asparagus is a favorite food of two very similar bugs: the asparagus beetle and the spotted asparagus beetle. Of the two, the spotted asparagus beetle is much less of a concern, so it’s important to be able to tell them apart.
The asparagus beetle is blue or black with six off-white spots on its back. The spotted asparagus beetle, on the other hand, is a rusty orange color with a varying number of black spots on its back. While asparagus beetles can cause some real damage to a crop, having spotted asparagus beetles in gardens is not of much concern because of when its eggs hatch.
The spotted asparagus beetle lifecycle is such that the larvae emerge just in time to eat the asparagus berries, long after the asparagus has passed its prime harvesting stage. Unless you’re growing asparagus to collect the seed, this shouldn’t be a problem.
How to Get Rid of Spotted Asparagus Beetles
Although having spotted asparagus beetles in gardens is not really a reason to be concerned, you may still want to get rid of them. Controlling spotted asparagus beetles can be done in a few different ways.
One very easy and pretty effective method is hand removal. If you have a small asparagus patch, simply pick off the individual bugs and drop them in a bucket of soapy water. You might have a mix of adult beetles and larvae.
Another good and very effective method is planting only male plants– these won’t form berries and should not attract spotted asparagus beetles.