I took numerous photographs of insects over the warm and sunny weekend just past as part of my ongoing recording of what is in the garden and the wider environment of my part of North Wiltshire.
This little fellow was perched on the drainpipe.
Not knowing what it was, I looked it up in my recently purchased and thoroughly admirable Dorling Kindersley Pocket Nature guide to Insects and Spiders. I thought it had a touch of the Ladybird family about it, but no, it’s an Asparagus beetle!
I am quite relaxed about Asparagus beetles in the garden-nothing tasty of that ilk here at home, but it put me on my guard. Yesterday’s inspection of the allotment asparagus revealed a couple of dozen adult beetles on the developing fern, hastily removed.
The adults lay their eggs on the foliage and it is the larvae that munch through the spears and the foliage. Ladybirds, chalcid wasps and birds predate them and I have read that dusting the soil with bonemeal may help. There were plenty of ladybirds munching the black fly on the broad beans yesterday-they are probably too full to fancy asparagus beetle grubs.
Now I know what to look for I feel better armed to defend the cherished crop, so between showers today I will be on beetle battle. And spotting chalcid wasps. Well, do you know what they look like? Me neither.