Paradise Garden

Gardening Articles written by Experts

Asparagus Beetle

by Mark Rowland

Common Asparagus Beetle: adult & larvae

adult asparagus beetle asparagus beetle larvae

The common Asparagus Beetle, Crioceris asparagi, pictured above, is a serious pest of asparagus in both Europe and North America. Both adults and larvae defoliate the plants by eating the needles, and the adults will damage the emerging spears and lay numerous eggs on them, rendering them unmarketable. Fortunately the pest is easily visible, and can be controlled using pyrethroid insecticides.

The asparagus beetle becomes active in early April and starts laying its eggs later in the month. Eggs hatch within a week, and the larvae feed for about two weeks. They then pupate in the ground, emerging as adult beetles about a week later. The whole cycle can take as little as three weeks in mid summer, lengthening to eight weeks in spring or autumn.

The Spotted Asparagus Beettle, Crioceris duodecimpunctata, is less of a problem as the larvae prefer to feed on asparagus berries. Consequently, growing all male F1 hybrid asparagus varieties will minimise any danger from this particular pest.

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© 2009 Mark Rowland