Share it! Science : Glimpse of the Garden: Week 11, Tortoise Beetles!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Glimpse of the Garden: Week 11, Tortoise Beetles!



After some more fencing and mesh to deter our mystery broccoli pest from last week, we haven't had any more damage. We have, however, been contending with some of the usual insect suspects on other plants. Several times recently I have found tortoise beetles on my eggplant. Today I found one munching on this tomato leaf.

Tortoise beetle munching my tomato! ©SBF 2015
Although destructive, (I do remove and destroy them) I do think they are very interesting beetles. Beetles, or Coleoptera, are the largest order of insects. Their diversity and adaptations are fascinating. (Check one of this blog's first posts- about Rhinocerous Beetles) The tortoise beetle almost looks like it is made of plastic. Its flattened body fits snugly against the leaf it is on. The beetle is a 1/2 cm long bug that can be a troublemaker in the garden. Depending on the particular species of tortoise beetle they enjoy munching on morning glories, sweet potatoes, cabbage, corn, raspberry, strawberry and milkweed in addition to the plants I've found them on. I don't particularly enjoy squishing them, but I do particularly enjoy tomatoes and eggplant, and I prefer removing them this way than a chemical method!

They are pretty cool, even if they do eat my plants! ©SBF

Have you encountered this pest before? I'd love to hear about what you found it on and what your method of removal was! Comment below or e-mail me at shareitscience@gmail.com

Lots of flowers in bloom this week, they have been happier with some wetter and warmer weather. What do you have blooming? 

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