The other day as I was admiring our rapidly growing tomato garden, I was appalled by the site of a bunch of these horrid creatures munching away at a few of the tomato plants. (I'm referring to the orange slimy thing in the photo above, not this charming creature below!)
|My bug pickers-just the right height to get these pests off of the tomatoes!|
They were pretty repulsive looking and I had no idea what they were. I picked off all the ones that I could find, relieved that they were only on four plants out of the 60 or more tomato plants that we have growing, and dropped them in a jar of water. Then I sqashed them all, but kept one wrapped in plastic in a jar.
|Our tomato garden is doing well...except for these repulsive orange intruders!|
I went online and googled 'orange and black bug eating my tomatoes' and came up with all sorts of images of various orange and black bugs. Man, how many orange and black bugs are out there? It's a bit depressing...what one will show up next?!
Apparently these ones are the larvae of Colorado Potato Beetles, and both the larvae and the adult beetles are voracious eaters of eggplant, pepper, potato and tomato. A little far from Colorado, aren't you guys? Let me help you pack your bags-it's time to head on back to the Rocky Mountains!
|Chowing down on a tomato leaf in our garden|
This is a good example of why it's important to rotate your garden, as the beetle won't find his ideal menu growing when he wakes up the next year in that spot. Because we're growing our tomatoes in a new garden, built up where our friends grew their garden last year, I'm sure we've discovered a spot where the beetle fed on something it enjoyed last year. We won't grow tomatoes in the same place next year so hopefully this will help to combat them in the future.
Of course there was some fighting over who got the most larvae and whose turn it was to pick each new larva that was spotted.
That was nothing over the excitement that ensued when I told them that they were required to SQUASH all of those slimy orange larvae!
They're used to me telling them that insects are all beneficial in some way, and that we should NOT hurt them, so this squash fest was a blast for these boys!