Friday 15 May 2015

So wrong

The metéo was wrong again today, promising cloudy but dry conditions but actually supplying a constant drizzle worthy of Ireland in summer. It's a bit disappointing as I'd intended to pull myself together and get the pumpkins and courgettes out of their pots and into the ground today. For someone with nearly 24 acres at my disposal no one would believe I'm running out of land but poor management in the last couple of years means that the rotation has gone to pot and patches which should be in cultivation are having to be cleared and covered to fight back perennial weeds and soil poverty. I've no stomach for digging out brambles and nettles in the soggy conditions today so everything will have to wait.

Asparagus beetle - Crioceris asparagi

I was wrong about these. Fooled by the attractive big white spots on their backs I thought they were Spotted Asparagus beetle but actually a bit of research confirms they're they boring ordinary sort, Crioceris asparagi. This is more depressing than merely making a mistake. The spotted beetle does most damage to seeds but the common sort is a worse pest, with several generations in a season and larvae that feed on new shoots and leaves, damaging both and weakening the plants. You can see eggs as well as adult beetles in the picture.

I've been hand picking them off and drowning them but as we've stopped harvesting now I might resort to some chemical solution. I don't want to do that and probably won't but it soothes my heart to think I could cause an apocalypse for the wretched things if I wanted to.

My identification skills with bees are still lacking so I can't tell you what sort this is, just welcome it as a reminder of how lovely it it when the sun shines.

bee on clover


Z said...

Asparagus beetle are such a nuisance and none of the usual predators seem to like them or their caterpillars. Why have you stopped cutting so early? Professional growers continue until the Longest Day, so that's what I do as well.

Catofstripes said...

The plants are only a few years old and rather badly treated, I was going to give them one more year of gentleness before I got out the big knives :)

Paul said...

Why is it that the pests seem to home in on our plants from what must be literally miles away in some cases? I mean how much asparagus is there in the average beech forest? I'm sure we had fewer pests on an allotment site - perhaps we benefited from our then neighbour's chemical addictions.