Sunday, August 8, 2010

Beetle Battle

My cantaloupes are being attacked by that nasty, pesky, fruit-eating striped beetle. Some are striped, some have the spots (I think they're called a banded beetle). I looked them up and am doing everything I have found to get rid of the stupid things.

It's hard to see in the photo to the left, but the little striped pest in inside the cupped leave to the bottom right. It, or one of it's pals, chewed through the stem of the cantaloupe, which is why it's hanging down like that.

I've been cutting the pieces of stem off and throwing them in the trash figuring it's possible they're laying eggs in there, or otherwise harming the vine.

I have fly paper flying. Neem oil mix that I spray right on the suckers and it doesn't phase them at all. Alcohol and soap mix irritates them a tiny bit but not enough to make 'em even fly off the leaf... or better yet, DIE.

I'm squashing 'em when I can handle it (yuck) and having a little bit of fun taking the fly paper and catching them.

Just went out to see how things were flying and yep, they're still a-flyin'. There are some on the fly paper but it's also loaded with other bugs, moths, tiny things that look like baby flies and unknown thing-a-ma-bobbers.

I read somewhere that you can tell how bad your infestation is by counting the beetles on the fly paper. Sorry, not gonna do that and it doesn't seem like there's a ton of them on the fly paper anyway. I saw three or four on my vine though. I caught one with the fly paper, ha ha, hee, hee...

They've bored into four of my new cantaloupes. At least I guess it's the beetles. Heck, I could have another pest, too. I cut one open and it kind of looked like they were boring into the fruit to maybe lay eggs? See the photo at the right.

I'm cutting the fruit off the vine and tossing it in the trash can... It is VERY frustrating to have a nice little cantaloupe growing only to see a pile of orange-ish crud on the ground below one day, and then to find a hole or two or three. Spraying the cantaloupe with all the stuff I mentioned above isn't protecting them.

I want at least ONE cantaloupe off the vine please. I have two that may make it. They were already almost ready to pick when the infestation started and hopefully the rind is tough enough so they're not enticing to the stupid bugs.

My mom said that she'd been told to spray paint a piece of plywood bright yellow, smear some oil on it. She was told the bugs would be attracted to the yellow, get stuck in the oil. I'm going to go paint some thin squares in a little while and put them out there, too. Pretty soon I'll have a folk art garden, a wonder of wilted leaves and bright shiny bug-attracting things.

OK, I'm off to try and find something else to try. Before it's all said and done these may be the most expensive cantaloupes I've ever eaten.

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