Imagine my disgust when I walked out to inspect plant today after several days of rain to see this:
This coreopsis that I raised from seed last year was nearly completely devoured by leaf beetle larvae. I don't know enough about insects to identify which species of leaf beetle it is but I am positive it is a Calligrapha. The damage is pretty devastating. The leaves are spotted with holes and very few leaves have escaped untouched. The interesting thing (Yes, I can find something interesting in this!) is that they are only on the coreopsis plants. I have several of them in our rain garden along with other plants like coneflowers, goldenrod (Solidago), butterfly weed (Asclepias), and some ornamental grasses but only the coreopsis plants received any damage. The picture above was the worst one damaged but all of them have seen damage. Coreopsis are generally pest free but apparently I have managed to attract one of the few pests that like them.
Coreopsis is a vigorous grower and should come back as long as the larvae stay away. At least the other plants didn't look as bad as this one. If you see even one of these little insects eliminate it fast and watch out for more! I'm definitely not a fan of these beetles!
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Sunday, May 3, 2009
Leaf Beetle Larvae (Calligrapha)
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Dave is the author of Growing The Home Garden and runs a small nursery business growing vegetables and herbs for local customers in Spring Hill, TN. (Blue Shed Gardens or FB page). He has written for gardening publications, Troy-Bilt and Lowe's and is available for edible garden consulting. Dave gardens organically and when he isn't writing, collecting seeds, or propagating plants he's parenting his 4 children as a stay at home dad.