What does an Asparagus Beetle look like? I know many of you wonder what happens to your asparagus plants when you’re not looking, asking why didn’t my asparagus come up? One of the problems that asparagus has is a little black and red beetle. This beetle is not the lady bug as the lady bug is actually one of the beneficial beetles which eat aphids and other small insect eggs and larva that harm your asparagus plants. I will show you a few photos that I took on my stroll through the asparagus patch and hopefully you will be able to see the difference in the beetles the next time you are in your patch.
I’m sorry the photo of the adult asparagus beetle is blurry, but he would not hold still for me to take the photo. I’ll work on getting a clearer photo next time I see one. 🙁
Now I will show you the beneficial Lady bug that you will want to protect as much as you can. This is one reason that spraying for bugs should be a last resort as the spray that kills the bad bugs also wipes out all of your good bugs. The asparagus beetle and the lady bug look similar; the lady bug is about 1/4 inch or even smaller and rounder but the asparagus beetle is elongated.
It may surprise you that a few wasps are even good for your garden. They love aphids and will widdle them down for you. I always leave a few in the greenhouse to “keep house” for me. The following photo is not of a wasp but in another family the robber fly. He actually dines on wasps, beetles, grasshoppers, leaf hoppers and helps with others bad insects in the asparagus.
I also saw many grasshoppers some already as large as 2 inches. Of course they are hard on every plant and the only benefit I can think of is that they are good fried for supper. The neighbor catches them with a fish net and deep fat fries them. Can I say crunchy and tastes just like chicken…hum crunchy but maybe not like chicken. 😉
There also was an interesting spider that was out dining on the insects in the asparagus. Spiders are very beneficial as they dine on many insects. Quoting the book Charlotte’s Web, “You mean you eat flies?” gasped Wilbur (the pig). “Certainly. Flies, bugs, grasshoppers, choice beetles, moths, butterflies, tasty cockroaches, gnats, midges, daddy longlegs, centipedes, mosquitoes, crickets–anything that is careless enough to get caught in my web. I have to live, don’t I?” said Charlotte (the spider). When there is a spider in an area many pests will call it quits, retreat and abandon the area. This spider was only about an inch long total. I know he is a good spider but I’m not sure what kind. I tried to look him up by looking at beneficial photos but it started creeping me out looking at all those spiders.
Another good guy in the asparagus is the honey bee of course. Lots and lots of them and just as busy as they could be collecting pollen from the asparagus in bloom.
There was also a long green caterpillar eating along the asparagus stalk but he went the way of all bad bugs before I thought to take his photo. So the count is 3 bad to 4 good in just that short walk through the asparagus. Well at least the good out weighs the bad this time. I pray that your day scores the same. Happy gardening.