momkat13
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picnic bugs?

I haven't seen this mentioned before but I have had a bunch of picnic bugs hanging around my patio. I have 2 planters with tomatoes. Today when watering I was checking on the one plant that had a tomato starting to ripen. The tomato was soft and mushy. I pulled it off and it had the bugs all over it. Looking at the planter the bugs were crawling all over the surface of the dirt too. Is there a way to get rid of them without damaging the plant?

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Kisal
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By "picnic bugs," are you referring to ants? Ants don't usually harm plants directly, although I suppose it wouldn't be impossible. Many people say cinnamon is effective against ants. You could sprinkle some on the soil and see if it works for you.

Were your tomatoes soft and mushy on the bottom? That would be blossom-end rot, caused by a lack of calcium in the soil. This article has some good information that may be helpful to you:

https://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/3000/3117.html
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

momkat13
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picnic bugs

By picnic bugs I mean those little flying beetle like things. The whole tomato was mush probably because the bugs were eating it

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Kisal
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Thank you for teaching me something new! I've never heard of picnic beetles before. :lol:

Apparently, picnic beetles are members of the sap beetle family. There is some information about them in this article:

https://www.extension.umn.edu/yardandgarden/ygbriefs/e217sapbeetle.html

A strong cautionary warning however! The article recommends the use of Sevin as a control measure for these beetles. New information, however, discloses how dangerous Sevin actually is. Please read all of this thread about [url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1595&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=15]Sevin dangers[/url]. I certainly wouldn't recommend it be used on a food crop. :eek:
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

momkat13
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picnic beetles

Are there any safe natural ways to get rid of the beetles that you could suggest that i try? I heard about soapy water to get rid of some pests but don't know what kind of soap to use there are so many on the market and I don't want to hurt my plants.
Thanks

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Kisal
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I use Dr. Bronner's organic liquid soap to make soap spray for my plants. I use 1 tsp per quart of water. I don't know that soap spray would have an effect on beetles, because of the hard exoskeleton. I'll check around and see what I can find to suggest for you. I hope someone like Helpful Gardener checks in and offers some advice. He really knows his stuff when it comes to organic controls. :)

ETA: Everything I've seen so far recommends chemical controls for agricultural crops, but no active control be used for home gardens. Instead, the recommendation is to clear away debris and decaying organic matter. Do you or your neighbors have fruit trees, or other situations, where there would be a lot of materials like decaying organic material/overripe fruit?

Check out this thread for some possible solutions:

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=11433
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

cynthia_h
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Quoting from The Organic Gardener's Handbook of Natural Insect and Disease Control (1992):

"Sap beetles...Handpick beetles, or...[they] can be trapped in containers baited with fermenting fruit."

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

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pharmerphil
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cynthia_h wrote:Quoting from The Organic Gardener's Handbook of Natural Insect and Disease Control (1992):

"Sap beetles...Handpick beetles, or...[they] can be trapped in containers baited with fermenting fruit."

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9
Best answer posted!

the sap beetle, a.k.a. picnic beetle, beer beetle, S.O.B beetle...
will attack and eat ANY over ripe or damaged fruit, even your sweetcorn.
Strawberries become bags of beetles, as do tomatoes...

Using ANYTHING to kill/prevent them, will kill the ones hit with the spray, and then their families will come to back them up.

This beetle is attracted to over ripe fruit, bread, vinegar, yeast, and they love your beer, just crack one open here in Minnesota, and it won't be long till you have them.

We are processing a bucket of Kraut at present, and we have the beetles on the screen door, wanting a taste.

This beetle is the carrier (vector) of the "Oak wilt disease" killing off much of the red oaks everywhere...

The method that Cynthia mentioned, id the Best, Set traps around your property...

Fill them with rotted fruit, beer, or water and yeast...they will come
and it will give you the pleasure of seeing a homemade device work...really well, I can dump 100-200 a day out of these traps...

I made a third compost heap way off in the corner of the property, and they LOVE it!



I use gallon milk jugs with a hole about 4 inches square cut in two sides, and about a cup of solution in the jug..

For those of you wanting to "Hybridize" the trap, add some sevin to the liquid IN THE JUG...and don't use sevin ON your crops!

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