Friday, November 19, 2010

Zucchini pest:The Pumpkin beetle, Aulacophora hilaris

Pumpkin Beetle: Aulacophora hilaris

I am beginning to think that having a plot at a community garden is a great opportunity to learn about pests and diseases. This is my first encounter with this 6mm long native beetle. It is easily recognised by the distinctive four black spots over its wings. From my observation, it seems to love company as large numbers congregate on one leaf which they shred until a lacy skeleton is left while neighbouring plants are left entirely alone. Old fashioned remedies to deal with them include dusting the leaves with flour or hydrated lime. Planting nasturtiums nearby is also supposed to be a deterrent. So far they are not doing enough damage for me to take any drastic action as to their removal and I can live with a few shredded leaves.

Illustration of Pumpkin Beetle by E H Zeck
from Insect pests of fruit and vegetables in NSW
by Hely. Pasfield. Gellatley
(published by Inkata Press)

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