Worms and Flowers

Successfully Managing the Colorado Potato Beetle

Posted in How To, Pests by Lzyjo on April 30, 2009

I love growing potatoes. What I don’t love are the pests that come with them. My archenemy in this department is the leaf-eating Colorado Potato Beetle (CPB). Not only are the beetles gut-wrenchingly disgusting, they spread diseases as they move from plant to plant. With diligence these pesky bugs can be controlled without toxic chemicals.

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The key to controlling the CPB is understanding its life cycle. There are three stages in the maturation of the beetle, eggs, larvae, and adults, they can killed during any one of these phases. Adults are easy to identify due to their distinctive striped exoskeleton. (Sorry, I dusted them up trying to get them in the shot.)

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Adults can be found feeding on the leaves and also near the base of the potato plant, where they emerge from their underground pupation chambers.

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Black beetle poop on the leaves are a tell-tale sign of beetle activity.

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Adults lay masses of bright orange colored eggs on the underside of the leaves. These should be wiped off and smooshed (I like to use gloves for this,) before they hatch anywhere from 4-10 days. If the eggs hatch, reddish brown larvae with black spots will emerge. These larvae will eat their fill of  leaves before retreating to underground chambers where they will complete the pupation process, emerging a few weeks later as full grown adults.

The best time to perform search and destroy missions is the early morning when the beetles are still sluggish from the cooler nighttime temperatures. I like to use the bottom of a stick to squish them. Okay, I don’t like it. It’s a matter of necessity. Be careful these guys will try to play dead, so make sure to squish ’em good!

For more information on the life cycle of the Colorado Potato Beetle see this article provided by a cooperative between the Universities of Wyoming, Nebraska, Colorado State, and Montana State.

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Wordless Wednesday–Living Fossils

Posted in Wordless Wednesday by Lzyjo on April 29, 2009
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Misinformation

Posted in Blog by Lzyjo on April 28, 2009

Like any publication I do my best to research my topics, but inevitably errors do occur. Accept my apologies for yesterday’s post in which I mistook Viburnum Opulus for Oakleaf Hydrangea.

I by no means wish to disseminate inaccurate information.  As they say, I’m a jack of all trades and a master of none. Please, if you do notice a factual error let me know.  If you experience is different let me know. I value reader comments and if you have something to add, I am more than happy to incorporate it into the post.

One of the reasons I love blogs is because they are from first-hand experience. Like a wiki, the blogosphere is a mutable entity that can be instantly updated for a more accurate representation of the topic.

Thank you.

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Viburnum opulus ‘Roseum’

Posted in Flowers by Lzyjo on April 27, 2009

Is livening-up our yard right now. It’s fluffy white blooms look like huge snow balls bedecking the shrub in a festive way.

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Before the flowers are fully open they are light green, which I’m sure would appeal to all those green flower lovers out there.

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European Cranberry Viburnum, European Snowball Bush, Guelder Rose
Viburnum opulus ‘Roseum’  I first mistook this plant for the oakleaf hydrangea. Thank you to Donna at Mother Nature’s Garden for identifying the plant for me.

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This cultivar is also known as “sterile” because it does not have the typical viburnum berries in autumn. According to gardening literature, it is a typical Southern-gown plant.

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My only complaint is it looks like this and gets progressively worse during the season. As you can see in the photo the branches are very slender and incapable of holding up the large blooms.

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I leave you with another iris photo. Have a lovely Monday, everyone!

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