Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Deadly jewel

"Oh, what a beautiful beetle!" I exclaimed this morning when I saw three of these on my lavender plant. It was iridescent green with ruby stripes and looked like a jewelled brooch. (Click the photo to enlarge it and see the bug in all its glory.)

I thought perhaps it was something rare so I Googled 'shiny beetles'... and then I found it. It's called a Rosemary Leaf Beetle (Chrysolina Americana) and it infests sage, rosemary and lavender plants and kills them, first by nibbling the new shoots as adults, then by breeding and producing larvae that eat the leaves.

The info on the various gardening sites said all you can do to get rid of them is to pull them all off and squash them. I couldn't bring myself to do that, but I had a bucket of water handy so I threw them all in and squirted some Astonish kitchen cleaner in after them. That did the job very quickly indeed - but I hate killing any living creature, even a beautiful jewel of a beetle that is deadly to my plants!

Here's a link to someone else's photo of one (Paul Scott on Flickr) which is much better than mine and shows it close up in all its glory.
Interestingly, the photo was taken in Hanwell, near Southall, which is only three miles from where I live. This is the first time in 15 years that I have seen them in the garden so they must be spreading west!

1 comment:

Jacula said...

I hope I never see one in my garden, since I have sage, rosemary, thyme and lavender. They're pretty though!