University of Maryland Extension

Asparagus Beetles - Vegetables

asparagus beetles on spear

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Damage to asparagus spears and feeding damage on the ferns is a sign of an asparagus beetle infestation.

Common or striped asparagus beetle: This is the more common beetle feeding on asparagus spears and ferns. The ¼ inch long adults emerge from overwintering sites in and around the garden in early spring and feed on emerging spears. The adults have colorful orange and blue-black markings. After mating, very small black eggs are inserted into the spears and the small gray larvae that emerge and begin feeding on spears. There are multiple generations each year and populations can reach high levels leading to severe loss of spears and foliage.

Spotted asparagus beetle: This beetle has orange wing covers with 12 spots. Their larvae are also orange. Mainly a pest of the older asparagus cultivars that produce berries (newer all-male hybrids produce no fruit) because the larvae feed on the berries.

Management: Handpick adults and larvae or control with a botanical insecticide (neem, pyrethrum). Cut spears quickly after they reach eating size, and clean up all plant debris and weeds at the end of the season to remove over-wintering sites.

Photo Gallery:

asparagus beetle eggsAsparagus beetle feeding damage and eggs

asparagus beetle eggs damaging spearAsparagus beetle eggs on spear

beetle larvae on asparagus ferns

Asparagus beetle larva feeding on fern


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