not that i’d hope to spot him, but i’ve seen the first of the common asparagus beetle. you might remember from earlier in the season that i have found the spotted asparagus beetle for a couple of years now. the common or stripped beetle is much more of a pain. i’ve dealt with him before and know that he can destroy a crop pretty quickly, but that was on first year plants not a well established patch like ours.
i’ve not seen the adult in great numbers, but the ones that i do see i’ve been hand picking and killing. the adults by comparison to the larva do very little damage, but since it is they who lay the eggs that will become the larva it is important to kill them. asparagus beetles and beetles in general are difficult to kill. their hard bodies require the use of stronger products like pyrethrum since soaps and oils only work on soft-bodied insects. since pyrethrum is expensive and a broad spectrum insecticide that could easily kill beneficial insects, i choose not to use it. i’d prefer to simply hand-pick and let the natural enemies of the beetle take care of the rest. i might be singing a different tune if they are able to really take over.
this is the larva of the common asparagus beetle. while editing the photo i noticed that it sure looks like it is pooping in this picture. unlike the spotted asparagus beetle which feeds on the berries, this little guy feeds on the foliage and he can’t eat a lot for such a little guy. i’ve been hand picking these as i notice them. unfortunately the foliage on our asparagus is so dense that i know there are plenty of larva hiding where i can’t find them.