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Black blister beetle help!!

Posted by gardenerwannabe6 OK (My Page) on
Sun, Jul 27, 08 at 21:09

Has anyone ever had black blister beetles? I read that they would eventually just go away but they're hanging around way too long - over a week. There's hundreds, literally, on our tomatoes and other veggies. We're trying no to use pesticides, but I'm wondering if there may be something else we can use. They're eating all of the leaves.

Thanks in advance, Becky


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Black blister beetle help!!

You better break down and put some sevin on them or you won't have anything in a few days. I get them every year when the heat starts. Its the only way I know of to get rid of them.


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RE: Black blister beetle help!!

Their defense is to fall when disturbed. You can put a container under them and make them fall into some water. Unless you have time on your hands, go with the sevin.


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RE: Black blister beetle help!!

My favorite way to get rid of pests like them is to either by flicking them into soapy water and letting them drown, or vacuuming them up with a handheld vacuum like a dustbuster. (Some people with large gardens use a shop vac and a long extension cord.) When you vacuum them up off the plants (or the ground), be sure to empty the bugs into a container of soapy water to drown.

Whatever you do, don't handpick them or you'll likely get blisters on your hand or fingers.

Mick has been waiting for blister beetles to show up in his garden so he can use his flour/lime mix to see if it deters them.

Along with green stinkbugs and brown stinkbugs, blister beetles are one of the hardest pests to control. Every one of them that you kill this year is one less that you'll have around to reproduce and make more beetles for next year.

Dawn


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RE: Black blister beetle help!!

Striped Blister Beetles arrived on my potatoes last Thursday
I tried the equal measures of lime and flour and it definately detered them. I went from having hundreds to around 10 in half a day.

Mick.


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RE: Black blister beetle help!!

Thanks for all of the suggestions..not sure what I'll try just yet.

Mick-I'm new to this gardening thing, but I'm assuming you used powder lime and flour and just sprinkled that on the plants??

Sadly, my dh just sold his shop-vac since he no longer has time for woodworking....Didn't see that as a garden tool at the time :) Oh well.....

Hope all is going well with your gardens in spite of the heat and thanks again!


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RE: Black blister beetle help!!

Yes, powdered lime and flour. I mixed it together in a ziplock bag. Make sure you wear gloves when you handle it.
I sprinkled mostly on the ground around the plants then shook the foliage and the beetles dropped off onto the powdered earth below. However, some did get on the leaves too.

I checked last night and there wasn't a beetle in sight!

Fingers crossed.

Mick.


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RE: Black blister beetle help!!

Thanks, Mick....off to TLC for lime!


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RE: Black blister beetle help!!

On a gardening blog I visit, the guy advised a young girl to add lime to her soil.

She asked "would that be a whole lime, buried in the soil or should I chop it up and spread it around"?

The bad thing was, she wasn't joking!! :-)

Best of luck, I hope you have some success.

Mick.


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RE: Black blister beetle help!!

Has anyone tried this lime/flour method and had results. Mick talks about not seeing any bugs the next day, but I'm wondering about long term success. I have hundreds of the brown blisterbugs on my tomato plants whose health is already compromised. They were there last year too.


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RE: Black blister beetle help!!

Has anyone tried this lime/flour method and had results. Mick talks about not seeing any bugs the next day, but I'm wondering about long term success. I have hundreds of the brown blisterbugs on my tomato plants whose health is already compromised. They were there last year too.


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RE: Black blister beetle help!!

I don't want to spray Sevin but the garlic isn't working on striped blister beetles. Does anyone know the reasoning for the use of flour in the lime/flour mixture. If the lime gets on the tomatoes, wouldn't that be bad for human consumption? Would the flour do anything by itself. I have some Surround to try but other than that I am out of ideas. The Sevin bottle said not to spray cherry tomatoes and the ones they are eating are just a little bigger than cherry tomatoes. I am wondering if they say that because cherry tomatoes often split. These tomatoes are not splitting and don't have thin skins.


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RE: Black blister beetle help!!

I prefer all organic, so I don't use anything that ends in -cide....except, homicide, despite being vegan. To keep my dogs safe and my food growing, I snip the beetles in half as I find them while saying a little prayer for their souls out of guilt. No, not really, because I'm also an atheist. The guilt part is true though.


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RE: Black blister beetle help!!

I have only used an insecticide, maybe, three times in 30 years. But when we had over two weeks of being attacked by hordes of blister beetles (thousands and thousands of them) I finally resorted to mixing a spray bottle of malathion. I sprayed them where they were concentrated (like in a couple hundred within an area the size of a volleyball). This did the trick. Next year I'm going to investigate beneficial nematodes.

George
Tahlequah, OK


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RE: Black blister beetle help!!

Oh my gosh, however did you dispose of their blistery little corpses? Funeral pyre barbecue?

I've only abbreviated the lives of about 100 so far this month and they are spread out enough that I can scootch them under some mulch and assume an air of innocence.


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RE: Black blister beetle help!!

Is malathion stinky? Do you know if it is less toxic than Sevin? I used up my bottle of Pyola on them weeks ago. It is expensive and only seems to annoy them. I think annoying them is all you need though because the time I mowed over them they all flew away. I don't care if I kill them, it would be nice if they'd move to something I could really spray not food plants.


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RE: Black blister beetle help!!

I hand picked black blister beetles for years before I learned the name referred to their ability to blister and not to their shape as I assumed. In all those years I was never blistered. My technique is to carefully pick them into my hands, drop them on the ground sometimes up to four at a time, and step on them. However earlier this year after going through that process, I developed a blister inside my left ankle. I wondered if as I stepped on one with my right foot, it squirted onto my left ankle.
I was out this evening picking and stepping again, and after I got tired of that, dusting with Sevin. DH vetoed my idea to give the tomatoes over to them.


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RE: Black blister beetle help!!

The flour-lime mixture has been used for over 100 years for leaf-chewing plants like grasshoppers and blister beetles. Some people say it works, others say it doesn't. I haven't tried it. I used plain all-purpose flour dusted onto tomato plants to deter grasshoppers in 2003 and couldn't tell it did much,but that was an epic year when they were eating fruit tree bark, fruits on the tree down to the naked pit, etc. and maybe I waited too late to use the flour. Theoretically the flour and or flour/lime mixture gums up their mouthparts and possibly their digestive system. The flour alone may work, but the lime contributes by, presumably, drying inside of them...sort of like Plaster of Paris. In my garden it didn't seem to deter the blister beetles, grasshoppers or anything else.

I always feel conflicted about the blister beetles. I'd prefer to leave them alone and let them prey upon grasshopper eggs, but if I did that, they'd destroy what's left of the veggie garden. Between the hoppers and blister beetles, the beans are being eaten down almost to the ground these last few days.

Dorothy, I don't think Tim would like it if I abandoned the remaining tomatoes and let the blister beetles have them, but I have quietely, more or less, done just that. I'm just trying to keep the beetles off the container plants up by the house. Out in the garden, the beetles can do as they please. It is too hot and I am too tired, and we are starting to have more frequent fires. There's only so much you can do about any pest in these temperatures any way.

Dawn


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RE: Black blister beetle help!!

Malathion stinks to high heaven. We only use it around and in structures to rid ourselves of persistent ant colonies that seem endless and timeless. When we laid out the boric acid traps they built roadways, parking lots, condominiums and after their numbers dwindled a new colony moved in and began redecorating and building new roadways. I knew it was killing them but the numbers of colonies are enormous. I had to switch to malathion and it took A LOT of it to finally walk into my bathroom or my kitchen and not see at least a few scouts. Finally, I no longer must clean as if I am at war covering my tracks to avoid infiltration. I spent so much on disinfectants it made more sense to buy the insecticide and get it over with. I would never use it on food crops, though. I think it is supposed to be effective on a variety of insects. I hope it works on carpenter ants, too.

bon


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RE: Black blister beetle help!!

I did a little online surfing to learn about these beetles - I don't have much experience with them myself.

This is what I read: "Female blister beetles lay clusters of eggs in the soil in late summer. The small, active larvae that hatch from these eggs crawl over the soil surface entering cracks in search for grasshopper egg pods. On finding a grasshopper eggmass, the larvae eats it, then becomes immobile and spends the rest of its larval time as legless grubs. The next summer they pupate and soon emerge as adults. Blister beetle populations follow closely the abundance of grasshoppers the year previous."

SO...if you have great amounts of grasshoppers THIS year, it seems to follow that they're feeding the larval form of NEXT year's blister beetles...!!!

YIKES

Sharon


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RE: Black blister beetle help!!

Oh boy.


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RE: Black blister beetle help!!

Both grasshoppers and blister beetles have to make a living. I dont like either one of them, but I would not eliminate either one if I had the option. I will however try to reduce their number if they are doing excess damage. I have sprayed blister beetles 4 times in the past three years. So far the blister beetles have done more damage than the grasshoppers, but the grasshopper count seems to be rising at a rapid rate.

Larry


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RE: Black blister beetle help!!

Blister beetles cause me more damage then grasshoppers. I would not eliminate grasshoppers and blister beetles either, but I would like to train them to brush hog for me instead of eating my garden. I like striped BB better than stink bugs which are harder to kill and won't go to bait. I've found that squashed bad tomatoes and kitchen vegetable garbage attracts them. Also I left some trimmed tomato branches on the ground and they congregated under them. That made it easier to spray a bunch in one spot. I hated to spray but they are eating everything and causing sun scorch from defoliation. I am covering the sprayed squashed tomatoes with something so the good flies don't get poisoned.


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RE: Black blister beetle help!!

Sharon, That is true. However, if the blister beetles are eating the grasshopper eggs that still makes them helpful in that way. I cannot think of any way that grasshoppers are helpful. I'd rather have blister beetles eating grasshopper eggs now so I'll have fewer grasshoppers next year. I have found it easier to control blister beetles than to control grasshoppers, so in my garden they are the lesser of two evils. We always have both anyway. I've never had a year with no hoppers or no blister beetles, but I've had plenty of years when I saw them all over and yet had very little plant damage. They are like coyotes-rabbits, you know. One year the coyote population is up and rabbits are pretty scarce. Then a year or two later, the rabbit population is up and the coyote population is way down. I see exactly the same thing with blister beetles. I usually only have the black ones. When I do have the striped ones, I don't have the black ones. I have no idea why.

Helen, I love the brush hogging idea. That's a good idea to put tomato branches on the ground as bait and spray them while they are there.

Dawn


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