You Bet Your Garden

Are beetles taking a bite out of your produce?

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June 30, 2012 — Squash vine borers and flea beetles can take quite a bite out of your produce production. Mike McGrath reveals the clever tricks two listeners devised to stop these pests. Plus a tomato blight update from Dr. Meg McGrath and your fabulous phone calls!

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Question of the Week

Hi Mike: Like everyone, everywhere I anguish over setting out my eggplants every season, realizing that I’m about to feed the flea beetles. I never seem to have floating row cover on hand (one of your recommendations for preventing their damage early in the season), so this year I cut the bottoms out of some plastic (three-gallon) nursery pots and pushed them into the soil around my little plants in the hope of keeping the hoppers away. (I also put some stakes around the pots to keep the wind from blowing them away.) As I send this email to you it’s been about three weeks, and not a single flea beetle has been able to make the high jump over the pot rims (about ten inches). It works so well that even my neighbor, who usually “just dusts the plants with Sevin.” is using a similar type of physical protection. Thanks for your show. You add so much to my enjoyment of the garden. Get the answer »

Photo Credit: You Bet Your Garden listener Bob Smith

  • Jean Dorman

    Just found one of our pepper plants completely eaten, and the tops of some others gone.. We found black pellets with ridges on them, looking like small blackberries, in the pot. Also found some of these droppings in other pots. Any idea what could be eating our plants/ The pots are on our second floor deck.

    • Sarah Kaizar

      Hi Jean — I passed your question along to Mike and he would like to know if you’ve seen any BIG green caterpillars on your plants?

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