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Tomatoes: Urgently Need Help Identifying and Controlling this Insect

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ruraldogs
ROMANCE, AR
(Zone 7b)

July 1, 2012
9:53 AM

Post #9188687

Hello:

I am new to this forum. Currently, my Early Girl Tomato plants as well as my squash plants are literally and suddenly under complete siege by the insect pictured here. I did find a similar photo under the bug identification section here at Dave's but with no information relating to how to control it in the garden. I have maintained an organic garden to date and would like to keep it that way but I fear these sudden interlopers will literally destroy the garden in the next 48 hours, based on the damage I observed over a 12 hour period (overnight). I applied diatomaceous earth, generously, to my plants and it doesn't seem to be touching them. Also, when doing a search for Black Webspinner, the insect looked a bit different than what is in my garden (coloring). These little varmits are elongated, have six legs, tan and black stripes across the length of the body and an orange like bulbous shape above. I am earnestly seeking help on this issue. I just cannot believe how many plant leaves these creatures have eaten in the past 12 hours.

Updating here - 03 July 2012 - The culprit is striped blister beetles. Also, while I was able to see responses when I first posted this, I am now told that responses are only viewable by members that have a subscription, which I don't, so I have NO idea what advice I may be receiving. Per the one response I was able to see early on, before the subscription block today, I did purchase Spinosad and applied it last night. While Spinosad is supposed to treat these beetles, it doesn't seem to be working at all. The only thing left of my garden is part of a few squash plants. There are now well over a thousand, if not thousands of these beetles in my small garden. I am talking science fiction movie material. Creepy as all get out. The interlopers have moved from very favorite (tomato) plant down to least favorite (zucchini) in almost no time and are even ascending on to the compost bin, now that they have run out of leaves to feed on. I didn't realize they ate the fruit as well - again, not their preference but there is evidence of them working on one semi-ripe tomato and the baby squash that are forming.

I can be reached at joysygroups@gmail.com if anyone has additional advice.

This message was edited Jul 3, 2012 11:33 AM

This message was edited Jul 3, 2012 11:41 AM

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cathy166
Stamford, CT
(Zone 6b)

July 1, 2012
10:25 AM

Post #9188715

Use spinosad. It contains a bacteria that kills beetles (which this is) and a bunch of other insects. They eat it and die, and it is otherwise not harmful to the best of my knowledge. I have (I think) Captain Jack's. You spray it on. I bought a bottle of it last week, and I think it was just under $10, but I'd have to look to be sure. You can Google it and get the info.

Please let me know how you do.

Marcia
ruraldogs
ROMANCE, AR
(Zone 7b)

July 1, 2012
12:13 PM

Post #9188820

cathy166 wrote:Use spinosad. It contains a bacteria that kills beetles (which this is) and a bunch of other insects. They eat it and die, and it is otherwise not harmful to the best of my knowledge. I have (I think) Captain Jack's. You spray it on. I bought a bottle of it last week, and I think it was just under $10, but I'd have to look to be sure. You can Google it and get the info.

Please let me know how you do.

Marcia


Marcia! Thank you for the advisement. I live rurally (shutters rolled up in town over the weekend) so will have to pick the Spinosad up tomorrow, and yes, I will keep you apprised. On a side note, this beetle is called a Blister Beetle (why do I feel like I had to be a rocket scientist to arrive at the correct search results???) and not a Black Webspinner. Apparently, they live underground and can survive as long as two years that way prior to emerging. Diatomaceous earth apparently kills off the larvae. Some people swear by it for the adults as well but I'm unconvinced so far. Will get the Spinosad.

ruraldogs
ROMANCE, AR
(Zone 7b)

July 1, 2012
12:18 PM

Post #9188827

Also a note - These beetles should NOT be handled without gloves. Take a look at the result of the toxin (to human flesh) they secret when they come in contact with the skin (not mine - from the Web).

http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/urban/medical/blister_beetles07.htm

Striped blister beetle - Google Image Results

[HYPERLINK@www.google.com]
cathy166
Stamford, CT
(Zone 6b)

July 1, 2012
5:47 PM

Post #9189143

I looked at your links. Totally horrible!

I took a look at my bottle. I think it says Captain Jack's Dead Bug, and it was $7.99 for about a pint, maybe 24 ounces. I'm sure it is produced by others as well.

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