Asparagus beetle

Crioceris asparagi

The common asparagus beetle (Crioceris asparagi) is the most prevalent asparagus pest that damages young asparagus spears. Overwintering as an adult, this slender, elongated beetle bears four white or yellowish spots on its wings, is reddish underneath and on the wing edges, and has a dark-red thorax. It is 1/4 to 1/3 inch long.
In early spring, just as asparagus spears are breaking the surface, adult asparagus beetles emerge after overwintering in plant debris. They begin feeding on the earliest spears, causing them to crook like a shepherd’s crook. Soon after mating, the females lay tiny, dark, elongated eggs on the little spears and new foliage, which stick out at right angles. Adults dine on the main spears, while the grayish-green, soft-bodied larvae feed on spears and foliage. Indentations caused by the feeding are brown in color and will decrease the vigor and size of affected spears. Severe feeding reduces the vigor of the asparagus plants.
Adult spotted asparagus beetles emerge one to three weeks later than common asparagus beetles. Late in the spring, these asparagus pests may be found all over asparagus plants, but usually they do only minor damage. The egg-laying cycle is timed to coincide with the formation of asparagus berries. Adults lay eggs on or near berries, the larvae bore inside to feed, and then drop to the ground to pupate into adults. The larvae feed only within the berries. Spotted asparagus beetle larvae are yellowish with black heads and legs.

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