This is the part of summer that brings out garden pests in droves. While there are many active right now, two are particularly significant, according to the University of Minnesota Extension.
In the fruit garden
It’s tiny but it’s devastating. The spotted wing Drosophila (SWD) (Drosophila suzukii) can devastate certain summer fruit crops, including floricane raspberries, June bearing strawberries and blueberries.
The spotted wing Drosophila is tiny and resembles the common fruit fly you’ll see hovering above over-ripe fruit. The experts at UM Extensions suggest that you can identify the males easier than the females by their distinctive wings. Look for clear wings with a black dot near the tip of the wing.
SWD larvae eat their way through healthy, ripening fruit, turning the fruit brown and leaving sunken areas.
Cultural remedies for the pest include keeping the garden free of dropped leaves and fruit and harvesting ripe fruit as soon as possible.
If you must resort to chemical control, use a pyrethrum or spinosad insecticide.
The pest in the flower garden
If it’s your flower garden that seems to be attracting the common pests this month, you may have an infestation of the say blister beetle (Lytta sayi). Look for small(about the size of an ant) green beetles with orange legs. These pests will feed on just about any flowers, including irises, roses, lupines and peonies. When the infestation is large, expect a lot of damage.
Although picking them off by hand works (wear gloves), spinosad or neem oil is probably a lot less labor intensive. You’ll need to reapply it several times during the season, so follow the label instructions carefully.
Whenever you use chemical treatments for garden pests, avoid spraying them when bees are active. The best time to spray is late evening.
Image: Say Blister Beetle by Jeffrey Hahn, UMN Extension