holistic approach to blister beetles?

Wiediger, Alison awiediger at Hart.k12.ky.us
Mon Aug 21 12:12:04 EDT 2000

> ----------
> From: 	nan and stewart[SMTP:stewart at watervalley.net]
> Blister beetles have overrun my organic market garden (northwest
> mississippi) just this month - i am not in depair as i know the soil is
> still being brought into health (earthworms, microbes, etc.) but in the
> meantime, what are these blister beetles symptomatic of, if anything
> special?
> i know i can apply various organic pesticides (but i hate to use
> pyrethrin/rotenone unless absolutely necessary), but are there natural
> enemies i can encourage to bring about a balance here....my rodale guide
> says to grow under floating row covers, and I know that these guys also
> eat grasshopper eggs (of which we have a gazillion here)....the advice is
> to knock them off th plant with soapy water, but they come back pretty
> quickly and have decimated the plants.

> What we found worked for a while was to control grasshoppers.  As you
> said, the beetles eat grasshopper eggs, so fewer grasshoppers, less food,
> fewer blister beetles.  We used nosema locusta to get the grasshopper
> population under control and the blister beetle population followed.  That
> application was about 7 years ago.  Just this year, the beetle population
> seems to ahve risen - but that may be due as much to the lack of any real
> winter weather over the last few years as to grasshoppers.  We will spread
> nosema locusta again next spring, just to be sure. Even this year,
> although the nightshades in particular seem to ahve a lot of blister
> beetles, the amount of damage done isn't great.  They are, however, much
> larger than we have ever seen - we have the grey ones, and some are well
> over 1 1/4 inch long - about double the normal size.  We're very careful
> not to squash them against bare skin!
Alison Wiediger
Au Naturel Farm


More information about the Market-farming mailing list