Leafy Spurge Insects

Leafy Spurge Insects

Aphthona nigriscutis and Aphthona lacertosa :

Both of these insects are small flea beetles that feed on the fine roots of leafy spurge as larvae. Adults feed on plant foliage. Flea beetles have achieved excellent control of leafy spurge on many sites, however, they are sensitive to soil type and may not do well on heavy clay or very sandy soils. The two species of flea beetles have slightly different site characteristics that they prefer. By selling them in combination, the species best suited for the site will become dominant.

$125 per release of 1,000 + insects. Available mid-June to early July.

As the old saying goes, “Montana weather is predictably unpredictable”. Since the insect’s development is dependent on the weather, that means that many years the insects are out early and unavailable early too. We always encourage folks to order their insects as early as possible in the year so you don’t miss your chance at the bugs.

Red Headed Spurge Stem Borer

Oberea erythrocephala :

Adults of this insect girdle the stem as they are laying eggs generally causing shoot death. Larvae feeding in the root and stem reduce the plant’s root reserves. This insect generally does not have as significant an impact on leafy spurge as the flea beetles do. However, it may do better on certain soil types and shady riparian areas where the flea beetles may not do well.

$170 per release of 100 insects. Available mid-June to early July.

All the leafy spurge insects we handle are approved for release in the United States by the US Department of Agriculture. They are also host specific, meaning they only feed on spurge, nothing else. There is no danger of them feeding on native plants or crops. Once established on a site, the insects reproduce rapidly and spread to other weed infested areas (Aphthona lacertosa females lay 28 to 130 eggs). One release of insects can grow to over a million in just a few years. They are adapted to cold climates and do not die off in the winter. There is no need to purchase additional insects in following years. Because the insects’s only source of food is spurge, as the density of the weed decreases the insect’s population also decreases, a classic predator-prey relationship. Eventually the weed and the biocontrol come into equilibrium with each other at a low population in the environment. Since the insects spread to many acres and achieve permanent control of spurge, the cost of control is very low, possibly less than a dollar per acre for a large area. This makes biocontrol a very attractive option compared to the high and recurring cost of chemical control. All of these factors make biocontrol «The Smart Choice» for control of leafy spurge.

Contact us at (406)251-4261 if you have any questions.


Organic Vegetable Pest Control Methods

A step by step guide for organic vegetable pest control

Today, we talk about organic vegetable pest control methods. It helps you to make profits in organic vegetable farming.

The organic pest control method is also known as biological pest control, is a method of controlling pest animal species (predators, pathogens or parasites). The most common natural processes that allow this are known as predation, parasitism, and herbivory. For the last century, the most important achievements in terms of organic pest control were made by humans. The anthropogenic factor creates an environment for the development and maintenance of integrated pest management (IPM) programs. The natural predators of pests are known as biological control agents. These are generally predators but organisms such as parasitoids and pathogens belong to the same category.

Organic Pest Control.

It’s very important to point out that any type of organic pest control leaves a footprint on Earth and affects insect biodiversity. If not executed properly, an IPM can lead to the extermination of a particular pest species, which is a natural prey of the newly introduced predator.

Types of organic vegetable pest control:

Here we discuss types of organic pest control. They are;

  • Importation
  • Augmentation
  • Conservation


Importation is also called classical biological control. These consist of importing and releasing exotic natural enemies that are known to control the exotic pests in their native region. The long-term aim of importations is to establish a stable natural enemy-pest interaction that could maintain the pest’s population below the economic injury level. Ideally, the natural enemy must be able to subsist and multiply on the pest and to occupy a similar range of habitats.


The major difference between the importation and the augmentation methods of organic pest control is that augmentation is used on natural enemies of pests that already live in the infested area, no importation is required.

During augmentation, the control agents’ population gets boosted by people who manually discharge more of them in precise intervals of time. This helps in the faster reproduction of the control agents so that they can make a population big enough to destroy the targeted pest.

Another important approach of the augmentation process is to release a large population of the control agent all at once; this is known as the inoculative release. When this is done, the control agent must exterminate the targeted pest as soon as possible, before its population gets out of control too quickly.

A parasitoid wasp is often released on the territory of crops where the population of greenhouse whitefly threatens the production method. The wasps deal with the pest naturally and don’t cause any damage to the crops.


Pesticides kill beneficial predators, parasites, and pathogens with pests, and can cause outbreaks of secondary pests or rapid resurgence of pests that were initially suppressed. Using non-chemical control methods or pesticides which kill the target pest protects natural enemies. Some examples of predators are spiders, lacewings, lady beetles, ground beetles, rove beetles, syrphid flies, flower flies, hoverflies, true bugs (including minute pirate bugs, big-eyed bugs, and damsel bugs), predatory mites and even fire ants. However, important natural enemies are rarely seen, such as parasitic wasps and flies (more than 8,500 species), nematodes and pathogenic bacteria and fungi.

Some popular essential oils used for pest control:

Depending on particular pest issue, some popular essential oils used for pest control include;

Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Spearmint: spiders, ants, roaches, centipedes, aphids, fleas, ticks, beetles, gnats, caterpillars, lice, nits, silverfish, moths, other flying bugs.

Sage, Thyme or Oregano: chiggers, beetles, flies.

Tea Tree Oil: centipedes, fleas, no see ums, flies, and other insects.

Litsea Cubeba: fleas, mosquitoes, and gnats

Cedarwood: aphids, lice nits, moths, slugs, and snails.

Lemongrass: fleas, ticks, no see ums, mosquitoes, biting flies, and chiggers.

Lavender: chiggers, fleas, ticks, flies, lice nits, silverfish, mosquitoes, moths.

Vanilla extract: no see ums, mosquito, centipedes, and biting flies.

Some organic pest control methods in vegetables:

Let us discuss some organic pest control methods in vegetables;

  • Avoid monocropping: A mono-crop is the planting of an entire bed or field with just one crop. As you might guess, this method of growing makes the risk of crop loss high. Many insect pests are attracted to definite plants, so they will attack a whole row if they can easily move from one plant to another. If an entire field of corn becomes infested with the corn borer, for example, then the entire area is vulnerable to widespread attack because that pest has found its ideal habitat.
  • Use diverse cropping, an alternative method of planting vegetables. The idea is that a greater selection of plants in one area will confuse pests and even attract predatory and beneficial insects. You can plant a diversity of crops in the entire bed, or intermix your crop plants with flowering plants. Interplanting of companion planting with flowers or vegetables of a different selection can help you avoid an explosion of pest populations. Moreover, mix plants of different shapes and sizes to avoid shading out plants and to save space.
  • Plant a cover crop to enrich the soil after harvest time. You can try intercropping one with one of the vegetable crops. For example, intercropping clover with long-season row crop will have some benefits, as the clover can act as mulch, suppressing weeds, while fixing nitrogen in the soil area. (White clover, Trifolium repens, is a perennial plant, low-growing clover that tolerates shade and is useful in many situations.)
  • The mulching process is a cultural control that can keep down weeds and moderate temperature extremes at the soil surface. Mulch is a layer of material, preferably organic matter, placed on the soil surface to conserve moisture, hold down weeds, and ultimately increase soil structure and fertility.
  • A mulched vegetable plant is exposed to less extreme temperatures. Unmulched roots could be damaged by sudden thaws and frosts. Mulch keeps the soil warmer in winter and cooler in the summer season. Some mulch is rich in minerals and over time, rain works them into the soil to feed the roots of plants. Therefore, mulch fertilizes the soil while it sits on the surface, and overtime as it decays.
  • Mulching reduces weed growth and saves time spent weeding. The mulching process prevents erosion from wind and heavy rains.
  • Vegetable plants that sprawl along the ground, like squashes or cucumbers, can stay dry and clean by not touching the soil. The mulch also helps prevent mildew, mold, and rot.
See also:  Tick s The Season! Checking for Ticks in Preschool

Prevention pests in an organic system:

In organic farming, the main principles of the integrated pest control are perfectly applicable in substantializing the mechanisms for fighting pests, diseases, but chemical means are forbidden; instead, new unconventional methods have been used, like some biodynamic preparations.

The strong attack of some pests can be favored by a few technical mistakes, in general, or mistakes in the environmental context such as the following;

  • Improper choice of the place of culture;
  • Using seeds or plants that are weakly developed;
  • Mistakes in crop association;
  • Practicing monocultures without using proper crop rotation;
  • Incorrectly executed soil tillage;
  • Unilateral or excessive fertilization, without organic fertilizers;
  • Insufficient fertilization;
  • Extreme weather conditions; and
  • Improper choice of the sowing period.

Some effective methods of organic vegetable pest control


This option can safely be used on fruit and vegetable crops. Spinosad is a soil-based bacterium that kills pests including bagworms, borers, beetles, spider mites, tent caterpillars, and loopers.


An organic pest killer that is moderately toxic to most mammals and occurs naturally in seeds and stems of some plants. Use rotenone with caution near ponds or lakes, as rotenone is extremely toxic to fish. It will kill leaf-feeding caterpillars, beetles, aphids, and thrips on vegetable crops.


One of the most commonly used botanical insecticides in the U.S.; pyrethrin is extracted from the chrysanthemum plant. It is non-toxic to most mammals, making it a particularly safe choice.

This pyrethrin insecticide is a powerful, fast-acting deterrent, even at low doses. Upon exposure, most flying insects will instantly drop, but may not always be killed. Some manufacturers mix this pyrethrin with more fatal solutions to ensure insect death.


Bt is the shortened version of Bacillus thuringiensis, naturally-occurring bacteria that make pests sick when ingested. Spray Bt on leafy vegetables that caterpillars eat and Bt will kill them from the inside out. Because it’s harmful upon eating, this is an extremely safe organic pesticide for preserving beneficial insects.

Neem oil:

Neem oil is extracted from a common Asian tree and inhibits the growth cycle of insects. Its active ingredient, azadirachtin, will cause infected insects to eat less, develop more slowly, and molt less. This is a very good option for those who don’t yet have major pest infestations and want to get a head start on reducing the number of potential pests.

Diatomaceous earth:

Diatomaceous earth is used in dry instances and becomes less effective when wet. While it targets some indoor bugs, it will kill Japanese beetles, cutworms, flies, ticks, crickets, slugs, and other species. Unfortunately, it will kill beneficial insects, therefore use caution.


Certain minerals can be used to control pests. Sulfur is sold as a liquid, wettable dust or pastes and control spider mites, psyllids, and thrips. Minerals use on vegetables like beans, potatoes, tomatoes, or peas. While it is non-toxic to humans, it can irritate skin and eyes. The downside to using sulfur is that it has been damaged plants in dry weather when temperatures reach above 90°F, and it is incompatible with other pesticides.

Some of the most common and troublesome pests in vegetables:

Carrot rust flies– maggots or flies larvae that make brown tunnels in carrot’s roots.

Cabbage root maggot – fly larvae make radishes and turnips “wormy” and eat so many roots of cabbage, broccoli or other cole crops that they get stunted, yellow and may die.

Beet leaf minor – these little larvae dig into the plant leaves of beets, spinach, and chard and eats up all the green tissue between the upper and lower leaf surface causing tan blotches on the leaves.

Flea beetles – tiny, shiny, black beetles that hop quickly off a plant when examining it, but are responsible for holes in the leaves that make the plant look like it was hit with buckshot. Likes a variety of crops but particularly potatoes, mustards, radishes, and tomatoes.

Cabbage worms – essentially a collection of moth and butterfly larvae that eat big holes in cabbage crop leaves. The two most regular are the green “inchworm” caterpillar of a geometrid moth and the velvety green caterpillar of the cabbage white butterfly.

Aphids – small sucking insects that come in many colors and with a taste for several different crops. The grayish, waxy, cole family aphids and the big, black bean aphids are the two that seem mainly troublesome.

Cutworms – A hairless moth caterpillar that sneaks out at night to feast on seedlings leaves and sometimes fruit like tomatoes.

Slugs – another beast that works at night or on overcast or rainy days and eats just about anything. If you can’t tell whether you have slugs or caterpillars appear for slime trails, a sure sign of slugs, or frass. Caterpillar frass or a polite word for poop is blocky, squarish pellets and slug frass is a squiggly pile.

Organic vegetable pest control process:

  • Screening out insects is an old process but it just got a lot easier now that floating row covers have eliminated the need for constructing frames. Floating row covers (FRC) sold under several different trade names, like Reemay and Agronet, are indispensable tools for the vegetable gardener wishing to avoid or to cut back on the use of pesticides. These extremely light-weight materials are laid right over the rows leaving sufficient slack in them so the crop pushes the row cover-up as it grows.
  • The light and water can get through the Floating row cover fine, so you only have to remove them occasionally to weed, thin and check for slugs. Floating row covers can prevent most of the common vegetable pests but are used most often on crops favored by cabbage maggot, carrot rust fly and beet leaf-miner.
  • The material works by excluding the adult female fly and preventing from laying eggs on or near the crop. Without rotations, the adult flies will emerge from the soil under the FRC with the seedlings or transplants, trapped in with the crop you wished to protect from them, and you will have a worse problem than ever.
  • Rotations alone can be a very important organic pest control technique. It is of most help with the soil-borne disease but, to a smaller extent, insect populations can build up as well if the same crop is planted in the same area season after season.
  • Hand-picking is a labor-intensive but effective method to control insects large enough to be seen as destroyed. Cabbage worms can often be spotted and wandering tent caterpillars are simple to grab.
  • Cutworms and slugs can be captured at night if patrol your plants with a flashlight. Hand-picking will make you look at plants up close and will soon make familiar with all the bugs.
See also:  How to Get Rid of Ants: 6 Natural Remedies

That’s all folks about Organic vegetable pest control methods and their process.


How to Get Rid of Small Hive Beetles for Good with 13 Fail-Proof Options

Rebekah started a small farm with her husband in 2016 in upstate New York, just north of the pristine Adirondack Mountains, where she grows vegetables and herbs and also raises sheep, chickens, and pigs. There’s nothing she loves more than helping others learn more especially about sustainable living as it pertains to health and homesteading. An avid cook, she works hard to grow and preserve enough food to support her family throughout the year.

If you buy an item via links on this page, we may earn a commission. Our editorial content is not influenced by commissions. Read the full disclosure.

Bees are such a valuable part of the landscape – and definitely worth investing in if you don’t have them already. However, they aren’t the easiest creatures to have around and there are certain threats, like hive beetles, that can make owning an apiary even more challenging than it already is.

Hive beetles, if not controlled, can rapidly destroy your hives in the blink of an eye.

Luckily, there are several techniques that can not only help you to prevent hive beetles but get populations under control. Your bees will be happy, healthy, and productive once you implement these simple techniques.

What Are Hive Beetles?

The hive beetle is a tiny pest that originated in sub-Saharan Africa. Unfortunately, it is now found just about all over the world, including most places in North America.

Although it is small, it is mighty, working rapidly to destroy an entire beehive. The hive beetle can not only destroy honeycomb, stored honey, and pollen, but it can also target your bee larvae, too.

An adult hive beetle is usually black or dark brown in color and only about five millimeters in length. Hive beetles have long lifespans for insects, living up to six months in most cases. They also breed rapidly – during the warmer months, hive beetles can produce up to five generations in a single beehive.

In an infested hive, hive beetles can be found just about anywhere. Honeybees sometimes chase these pests to the back of the hive or into various crevices. They’ll also try to seal them into cracks. This isn’t effective, though, since female hive beetles then lay their eggs in the cracks where the bees can’t get to them.

Each egg takes only about three days to hatch and matures in just two weeks.

Why Are Hive Beetles a Problem?

Before you can truly understand the best ways to get rid of hive beetles, you need to understand the real problems that these pests can cause. As a beekeeper who has lost several hives to hive beetles; I can tell you firsthand how destructive these pests can be.

1. They Eat Your Bee Brood

Hive beetles will settle right into your hives, making themselves at home. Almost immediately, they will start laying eggs.

These pests take over the hive quickly, and once they do, they, of course, need food to keep them going. Hive beetles are quite fond of bee broods. As you might expect, this is problematic – if the hive beetles eat all the brood, your hive will be unable to reproduce.

It can also weaken your beehive overall, causing the queen to leave the hive. She may take the rest of the bees with her, too, which can cause a swarm that will result in you losing your bees for good.

2. Honey Destruction

While it would be nice to raise bees simply for the fun of it or to do good for the environment – see our post on saving the bees – the reality is that most people (myself included) raise bees to get something out of it – the honey.

Unfortunately, hive beetles like honey just as much as we do. Adult hive beetles as well as their larvae, enjoy munching on honeycomb. Unlike some other bee pests, such as wax moths, hive beetles don’t totally destroy the honey. They do, however, eat all of the honey, which robs the bees of their food source.

Not only that, but hive beetles are known for defecating inside the hive. This causes the honey to ferment, rendering it useless for your harvest. It also gives it an awful odor.

Your bees work way too hard for all of that honey to be wasted. Not only can a hive beetle infestation ruin the honey harvest for you, but it can also cause your bees to starve.

3. Stresses the Hive

Think of it this way. Somebody comes to stay at your house, refuses to leave, eats all your food, and even poops in your food supply! Pretty disgusting right? It’s probably not going to help your stress levels, either.

Bees are tough creatures, and they work hard. At any time of the day, bees are out foraging for food, feeding drones, laying eggs, caring for a queen, building comb, and more. They have enough to worry about as it is.

Throw in a hive beetle infestation, and your bees are going to become seriously stressed. When a hive is stressed, it naturally weakens as the hive’s resources are stretched thin. A hive beetle infestation can cause the total collapse of your hive. You will need to do everything you can to help protect your bees from these intruders.

How to Get Rid of and Prevent a Hive Beetle Infestation

1. Practice Good Apiary Management

The best thing you can do to prevent an infestation of hive beetles – or any kind of bee pest – is to practice good preventive techniques as a beekeeper. Keep your colonies strong and healthy, doing everything you can to reduce stress. Propagate bee stocks that have genetic characteristics that are resistant to disease and pests.

When you combine colonies or exchange combs, be careful. You can easily introduce eggs from outside colonies. Keep your apiary clean and sanitary and avoid things like tossing comb onto the ground – this can attract all kinds of pests.

Remove frames and hives that are not in good condition. Hive bodies that are rotten, cracked, warped, or damaged in any way offer more hiding spots for beetles, making them harder to detect.

Finally, when you remove honey from your colony, extract it within two days. Wax cappings are a favorite source of food for beetles and need to be processed quickly.

2. Remove Honey Supers

If you have an infested hive, remove unnecessary honey supers. This will lessen the territory that needs to be patrolled, making it easier for your bees to respond to the threat. If the supers aren’t ready for extraction yet, you can move them to stronger colonies.

See also:  Lice Eggs, How to Identify?

3. Expose the Hives to More Sunlight

One of the best ways to prevent a hive beetle infestation is to consider the location of your hives. Ideally, you should place your hives in full sunlight – a bit of afternoon shade is ideal. Keeping your hives in completely shady locations is not a great idea.

Hive beetles, quite simply, don’t like the sun. They get too hot. Bees, on the other hand, won’t necessarily care (although you’ll want to avoid working them during the heat of the day, as they are sometimes more agitated when they are warm).

Don’t go out and start moving your hives around if you’re panicking over a hive beetle infestation. Too much movement can stress your bees unnecessarily during this time of already-increased anxiety. Instead, nip the hive beetle problem in the bud early on by placing your hives in the proper location.

4. Cover the Ground

Make sure the ground is covered in the area beneath the hive stands. This serves multiple purposes. Not only will it make it more difficult for hive beetle larvae to pupate and return to your hive, but it will also make it more challenging for other predators to get into the hive.

5. Purchase a Mechanical Trap

There are all kinds of mechanical traps that you can purchase or make yourself. These work by trapping beetles in mineral or vegetable oil. The traps have small openings that let beetles enter but keep honey bees out.

6. Make a Bait

Small hive beetles tend to congregate in darker areas of the beehive. If you place a screened bottom board in the hive, you can force the beetles to move upwards into the beehive with a boat (in the same way that a mechanical trap would work, as mentioned above).

The bait will confuse the hive beetles, as they will assume it is honey. You can purchase bait from various manufacturers, but you can also make your own out of a cup of water, a quarter cup of sugar, a half a cup of apple cider vinegar, and the chopped pieces of a banana peel.

Let the mixture ferment, then strain out the pieces of banana skin. You can use this bait in the manner I recommended above to lure the beetles up and out of the hive for good.

7. Essential Oils

There are several essential oils that are believed to be effective against small hive beetles, and luckily, none of them have been shown to have any side effects. You should use them in moderation though, and ideally not right before you harvest honey (it can impart its flavor onto the honey).

Wintergreen oil is the most commonly used oil against small hive beetles. To use it in a hive, you should combine it with some honey and vegetable shortening and then dab a small amount on the frames and corners of your beehive boxes. The beetles will be drawn to the shortening and honey and killed by the wintergreen oil.

8. Chickens

If you already have chickens, letting them peck around your beehives is a great way to keep small hive beetle larvae at bay.

Chickens are usually unaffected by bees but will enjoy pecking around and eating the larvae in the ground. They may also turn up the soil and expose the larvae to the sunlight, which can dry them out.

9. Nematodes

Nematodes are soil-dwelling organisms that can be released into the soil around your beehive. Since they are in the soil, they will not harm your bees. You can purchase nematodes online or from select farm and garden stores. Pour them onto the soil with a watering can.

The nematodes will burrow into the soil and seek out insects – like small hive beetle pupae. They will enter their bodies and release fatal bacteria, halting the reproduction of these irritating pests.

Just keep in mind that nematodes are only effective in certain types of soils and they do not overwinter well. They also aren’t as effective during times of drought.

10. Diatomaceous Earth

Ah, diatomaceous earth – the homesteader’s favorite remedy! This natural treatment can be used against small hive beetle larvae. It is the crushed-up skeletons of fossilized organisms. To use it, simply scatter some on the ground near your beehives in a radius of ten feet. After you have applied the dust, water so that it enters the soil.

11. Freeze Frames

If you detect hive beetles in your frames, consider removing the frames and placing them in the freezer. It will take at least four days in a deep freezer to totally kill the larvae.

12. Chemical Treatments

I don’t usually recommend using chemical treatments on a hive at all, as these can have dangerous side effects. There are some, however, that are recommended by numerous professional beekeeping organizations and are considered mostly safe to use.

– Coumaphos

One option is coumaphos. This is the leading treatment against small hive beetles and is sold under a variety of brand names, including CheckMite. It also works against varroa mites, if those are a problem for your beehive. You will use a single strip to target small hive beetles. Just keep in mind the following tips:

  • You should remove honey supers for 42-45 days while applying coumaphos
  • Coumaphos takes two weeks to fully dissipate
  • Wear chemical-resistant clothing when handling these chemicals (not your leather bee gloves)
  • Do not use more than twice in the same year
  • Read all instructions that come with this application and do not use for off-label applications

– Permethrin

Permethrin is another common chemical treatment. As an extract from the chrysanthemum plant, many people like using it because they believe it is more natural.

It is still, however, a chemical, so use caution when applying it. It can be highly toxic to bees. Although it is recommended by numerous beekeeping organizations, it is still a toxic chemical that should only be used as a last resort. It is often used to repel mosquitoes but can also be used against hive beetles.

If you use permethrin, start by clearing surrounding vegetation. You’ll apply it to the soil, which will prevent the larvae from pupating on the soil beneath the boxes. If you already covered the area beneath your boxes with rocks, you shouldn’t need to resort to permethrin anyway. It is, however, another option.

When you use permethrin, just make sure you remove watering or feeding stations for your bees and carry out treatments after your bees are in for the night. It dissolves quickly and so it should not contaminate your bees as long as you are cautious about where and when you apply it.

Again, these insecticides should only be used as a last resort.

13. Wait for Winter

When all else fails, keep in mind that most hive beetles die off over the winter months. If you live in an area that experiences harsh winters, you can use the changing of the season to your advantage. Wait for winter to arrive, and your beetles should die off.

If your winters are extreme – or your hive infestation is advanced – this technique won’t work as well. You may have some adults survive to reproduce.

Keep an Eye on Your Hives

Hopefully, you now have a good idea of everything you need to do to get rid of hive beetles in your hives. If you’re new to beekeeping or a seasoned expert, these tips should help you recover (or possibly prevent!) any potential damage from these intrusive pests.

Remember, the stronger the hive, the more honey you will get – and the better beekeeper you will be.


No comments

Добавить комментарий

Your e-mail will not be published. All fields are required.