I need help to identify an insect

whatcheer(z4 Ia)August 3, 2005

I have a small green flying insect attacking my flowers again this year. It is about 1/4th inch in length. A light green color with a brown head. It has antennas all most as long as it is. Six legged and an appetite for my cosmos! I have looked everything trying to find it. Last year someone told me it was a corn worm larvea. That didn't make any sense to me. I looked it up, and nope that's not it. This is an adult insect. Looks more like a beetle. It opens it's armor covering it's wings to fly. Fast too! If anyone has any idea what it is please let me know. I can't figure out how to manage it, if I can't idenify it.

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Probably a corn rootworm beetle.


    Bookmark   August 3, 2005 at 7:25PM
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whatcheer(z4 Ia)

Ironbelly you get an AAA++++! I looked up corn rootworm beetle and BAM, there was a picture of the varmit. The sad news is I can't do much about it. I am surrounded by corn feilds. The larvea problem lies there. I have to big of an area to try and dust. I hate pesticides anyway. Thanks Ironbelly. My friends will appreciate this to.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2005 at 11:41PM
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uicricket(z5 IA)

That's what those little boogers are!! I have them too - also surrounded by corn fields. At least they don't bite like the little black bugs.


    Bookmark   August 4, 2005 at 11:50AM
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There might actually be hope for you and your problem with the Corn Rootworm Beetle. Of course, tender corn silks are one of their favorites and I have heard that the populations of CRB are especially high in the corn fields this year.

It is interesting that they seem to zero in on only certain plants. The first place that I always notice them is on my ornamental sunflower blooms. They ravage the perimeter ray petals but not until the flower is mature enough to be producing pollen. Other kinds of blooms standing right next to the sunflowers are left untouched. Dahlias and Cosmos, however, also seem to be on their dining menu.

I have pretty good luck controlling these pests by simply holding a dish of soapy water beneath the blooms and tapping the flowers. The beetles seem to release their grip and let themselves fall -- in this case, to their death. A few of them take wing but the majority simply fall into the soapy water. The population of these pests is decimated. I usually repeat this process two days in a row to gather any strays and my flowers are protected for about two to three weeks. By then the populations have increased again to the level that you may want to repeat your soap water patrol.

These beetles tend to feed right out in the open during daylight hours. It is pretty easy to tell when their numbers have reestablished.


    Bookmark   August 7, 2005 at 11:32AM
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I just wanted to do a little follow-up on the corn rootworm damage issue.

I got a little too busy to follow my own advice. Several weeks have gone by and the beetle population increased while I wasn't paying attention. Below are two photos of ornamental sunflowers about 5-inches in diameter. The first photo is of a bloom that has been open for a about a day. The beetles don't seem to begin feasting on the sunflowers until they open up and begin producing pollen. As soon as the pollen appears, they also begin ravaging the outer ray petals -- as seen in the first photo below.

This second photo is about a day later in our blistering hot, dry weather. Normally, the blooms will look great for a week or longer without the beetle damage.

It is kind of interesting that a defense mechanism of these beetles is to just fold their legs up under themselves when disturbed. They simply allow their bodies to freefall to the ground. I have even played with some I find on the leaves and when you bother them, they will just begin rolling down the leaf until they fall off.

You can take advantage of this habit by simply mixing up a little soapy dishwater in a small dish. Hold this dish under the blooms and they will fall right into it. I like to call this, The Dish of Death. (Heh, heh, heh.)

This whole process only takes a few minutes in the garden and can be repeated as necessary.
The Dish of Death


    Bookmark   August 14, 2005 at 11:33AM
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whatcheer(z4 Ia)

Ironbelly, I've been following your advice. It works till the next batch come in to replace them. I don't seem to have near the damage though. They sprayed the fields a few days ago. I really thought I was going to be in trouble. I was pleasently surprised that there was very little incoming bugs. The soybeans have aphids too. BAD. All in All everything looks better than it did last year.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2005 at 4:02PM
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Ironbelly, I've been using your method on a couple of well branched small sunflowers here. I have to watch it though,lots of Bumble & other bees on these,too.I can about
fill my dish on one plant. There are more bugs there at next patrol. My
worst damage is on the Cosmos.Iris

    Bookmark   August 14, 2005 at 5:00PM
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garasaki(z5 IA)

It's nice to see a post from Iron Belly again!!!

    Bookmark   August 15, 2005 at 10:23AM
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I have read the postings of 05 for corn rootworm beetles. I live next to a corn field. My flowers were devastated by the beetles last summer for about six weeks. I couldn't find a solution, other than having the farmer rotate his crop. I found them especially hard on hybiscus. I have put in some plants which are supposed to repel beetles, though with acres of corn ten feet away, I don't expect them to be much help. I will try the soapy water, wonder if anyone has any solutions since 05.
I have read that spraying crops before June 1 makes a difference. The crops in the field were sprayed on May 31 this year.


    Bookmark   July 4, 2009 at 8:49PM
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Karen Pease

Another name for the corn rootworm beetle is the cucumber beetle.

There was a good thread on this recently on one of the other forums: there are certain baits that they're highly attracted to. Among them are clove and allspice oils (eugenol). So mixing the oils with a poison, and hanging it covered (to protect from rain) in an infested area is a good way to kill them. The poster took it a step further and instead of using sevin or other highly toxic pesticides, they used dental disclosing tablets -- i.e., red dye #28. Red dye #28 is phytotoxic to many insects.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 1:14PM
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So far I haven't seen those blasted corn rootworm beetles.Not a one! I actually have beautiful cosmos & sunflowers!I used the soapy water ,but there were so many I would have been out there all day!We are surrounded by cornfields. Funny,I never noticed these devils before the past 2-3 years.
Keeping the above clove & allspice oils in mind for future use. Iris

    Bookmark   July 20, 2009 at 10:50AM
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