Me vs. The Beetles

The doggie in the garden. They were mowing the lawns, so I had to stick him in with the sweet potatoes and broccoli plants. At first he didn't like it, but after a while, he took shelter under one of the sunflower plants. Hilarious.

I've been taking some pictures the last couple of weeks so that I could update you guys on the garden. But this week, a war started. And I've been fighting it all week. And it is BREAKING. MY. HEART.

I noticed them last Thursday on the pumpkin blossoms, but didn't think too much about it until a couple of days later when it occurred to me that they weren't really hanging around the plant so much as they were MUNCHING on my beautiful pumpkin blossoms. So, I did some internet sleuthing and figured out that they were some kind of squash loving beetle. I decided that when I went back in on Monday, if they were still there, I'd attack and conquer, as well as take some more photos so I could really identify what I was dealing with. I'd at least identified them as a beetle, so that would be enough to start looking for an organic pesticide of some kind.

The dog and I went to the garden on Monday and I noticed they'd spread to the squash plants on the other side of the garden. I noticed that one squash was rotting (it wasn't like that last week). I took some photos and then the dog and I headed to Home Depot to find a solution. I managed to find one pesticide spray for fruits and vegetables, which I told the guy who was helping me, "should help me kill those bastard beetles the way they're killing my beautiful garden."

I then returned to the garden and drained 3/4 of a bottle on all the squash plants (there are 13 total and they're HUGE). After that, I felt satisfied enough with my attack strategy that I returned home to do some more internet sleuthing. After some googling of "squash beetle," I finally managed to find a picture and identify my bastard beetles as cucumber beetles. I prefer bastard beetles. It sounds kinder. Here are some pictures that I snapped of the bastard beetles attacking my squash plants and my watermelon plants.

I then went to one of my favorite gardening blogs, GrafixMuse's Garden Spot. I left her a comment about my problem and she was kind enough to give me her email address and offer assistance. After she saw one of my photos, she confirmed that I was dealing with cucumber bastard beetles. She then suggested Bonide Garden Dust, said she'd had the same problem and one dusting fixed it. She told me it used to be considered organic, but to double check. So far as I can tell, it is organic, and frankly, at this point, a semblance of the organic stamp of approval is enough. After terrible spring weather, bunnies, storms galore, and squirrels feasting on my tomatoes and then strewing the half-eaten remains around the courtyard, I have HAD IT with shit ruining my garden.

Last night, I went to Home Depot again, bought some more spray and some of the Garden Dust. I figured if the spray seemed to be effective, I would use that again. If not, I'd crop dust the shit out of my, well, crop. Lo and behold those bastards had spread to my cucumber plants! So, I spent an hour in the dusk, crop dusting the shit out of my squash and cucumber plants. You reapply every 7-10 days, so I won't reapply until next week. Luckily, there aren't any fruit worth picking right now (you can't use RIGHT before a harvest) and the weather here has been really mild (you're not supposed to use it during high temperatures). I'm crossing my fingers that when I go into work tomorrow and check the garden, the bastards are gone. Otherwise, I can pretty much scrap any kind of pumpkin/squash crop. Ugh. Do you know how depressing this is? Some of those plants were grown from seeds. Farming is hard, y'all! In the mean time, here are some photos from the last couple of weeks:

The last squash we enjoyed before the bastard beetles attacked
The squash and green beans. I've got a million green bean blossoms, too. The beetles haven't affected them too, too badly, but they're certainly not helping.Some pepperoncini
Some more cucumbers growing. They haven't been affected too bad by the infestation. It's the squash and melons that have suffered the most. Bastard beetles!
Some pretty poppies and celosia
The empty hoop house. We'll start readying this for the fall garden, soon. We'll be planting lettuce and spinach.
The sweet potatoes, broccoli, and three sunflower plants.
The tomato plants are completely out of control. I finally pulled the onions because they weren't even growing well anymore. The tomatoes have completely overtaken this bed. I can't even weed it anymore.
The watermelons and one errant squash. I yanked the corn a while back. They never took off since they were stunted from not getting transplanted fast enough. Ugh.
The poor pumpkin plants, which I've had the hardest time with this year. I'm not giving up yet! You can see my pesticide in the background. I took these photos right before my attack.

(Photos by me!)


  1. Aw. I'm sorry about the stupid bastard beetles! As a side note, though, your garden looks pretty amazing. :)

  2. @Helen: I went in today and there were still a lot there, but many of them had left. The dust has worked so far. I'm going back tonight to do one more crop dusting with a team member since we washed a lot of it off when we watered the garden. Plus, there were a few blossoms I must have missed the other day, so they've all congregated to those. I WILL win this war. : )

  3. I had Japanese beetles a few years ago, and thrips this year. #$&(*$#, attacking my roses... I used Sevin dust on all the roses and my climbers and wild roses came booming back. Probably won't get any tea roses this year, though. Did you have a hard time with your poppies? I could never get them to grow!

    PS: Apparently the commenting solution is to log out and log back in. ???, Google?

  4. I have a very similar looking critter chomping on my strawberries. Pumpkins are looking good I think!


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