Thursday, June 7, 2012

Flea Beetles on the Turnips

A few days after we planted the turnips, I noticed that the leaves were slightly laced in tiny holes. It didn't seem to be affecting the plants too much so I thought I would let it be and see if it got worse. And it did.

I started looking closely at the plants to see if I could see any insects, and I found these tiny black beetles. As far as I can tell, they look like flea beetles, which are known to attack turnip plants.

They're also on the radishes and they've gone after this weed that we have in the garden. It's everywhere! I'm thinking it might be some sort of wild version of a radish or turnip type plant, as it has a very similar leaf shape and pattern.

It has a large main white root, that doesn't bulb, but smells sort of spicy. I think this weed might be the reason it drew so many flea beetles to our veggies. Now that the suffocating grass is tilled under, this weed wants to take over. Maybe some of you wild crafters out there can help me identify this plant???

I tried hand picking the beetles, but they are very numerous, tiny, and fast. I sprayed them with my citrus tree spray of 1 Tbsp Seventh Generation dish soap to 1 gallon water. This helps keep pests off my lemon and lime trees. The beetles scattered, but after the solution had dried I noticed they were right back on the plants.

So I grabbed the Diotomaceous Earth and gave them a good dusting. For those of you who aren't familiar with DE, it's a natural product made from ground fossilized crustaceans. On a microscopic level, the powder is jagged and sharp. When an insect gets the powder on it's exoskeleton, the DE causes tiny scratches or cuts on the bugs and they die. I always wear a a mask when I use DE because I don't want tiny cuts in my lungs.

DE is also great for dusting chickens for mites. You can shake it right on them, in their nest boxes, or add it to their favorite dust bath areas.

I'll let you know how the DE works!

1 comment:

Homemade Easy said...

Flea Beetle Juice.

1/2 cup of beetles
1 tsp liquid dishsoap
2 cups water

OLD BLENDER for garden use only.........
collect beetles & put them in blender w/ water.
Strain liquid in cheesecloth & mix in dish soap.
1/4 cup into gallon sprayer & fill rest w/ water.
Spray plants from TOP to BOTTOM, coat both sides of leaves.
WEAR mistake last time!
YOU can freeze this stuff (my sister does in small freezer for her garden stuff) but I normally end up using it or sharing w/ neighbor---in case some take flight!! REMEMBER LABEL if you freeze w/ your food. YUCK, I just wouldn't use my food freezer..... Virginia

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