How do I control the little bronze beetle chewing on my raspberries?

Q.

Hi, what is the best product to use on raspberries that will kill the brown beetles, a little bigger than a ladybug and all brown, destroying all new flowers and fruit?

Tineke Scott

A.

Hi Tineke, these are likely bronze beetles (3-4mm), they are most active in November, December when temperatures warm up. They move in quickly, feeding on leaves and move on just as quickly as they arrived, generally they feed on leaves, and don't usually damage fruit. Bronze beetle are difficult to control because of their hard shell so are best controlled at the grub stage when they emerge from the soil, try neem granules or diatomaceous earth, a silica based natural product that is like walking over cut glass for grubs and beetles, your garden centre may be able to recommend other soil insect control products that are suitable. A synthetic pyrethrum contact spray may be effective, as is hosing the beetles off with water, going out at night with a torch and a bucket of water picking them off the plant and feed them to the chooks or dispose of in the rubbish. They are attracted to lights, turn off solar lights or outside lights near the garden in spring. Cultivate the soil around your plants to disturb the soil, they lay eggs into firm soil so there is less chance if the soil is cultivated, placing mulch around your plants may also deter the bronze beetle. Treat your lawn for grubs in late winter, early spring as this will capture any emerging grubs as they overwinter in the soil.

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