Monday, February 18, 2013

Beetle Attacks Poha Berries


Poha berries, also known as ground cherry, cape gooseberry and husk tomato, are often invaded by the threelined potato beetle (Lema daturaphila, previously named trilineata).  Currently there are no pesticides registered in the State of Hawaii for the treatment of this pest on poha berry.  Yet there is good research for the nonchemical control of a related beetle in other crops.  Consider pursuing some of these methods: 

1. Yellow sticky cards – most insects are attracted to yellow.   Obtain some yellow cards, preferably something that will not deteriorate in wet weather. The next step is to apply a sticky material to the cards. A commercial spray preparation called Insect Trap Coating is effective. Put the cards on small stakes and place them in the midst of the berries. The beetles will be attracted to the cards and will stick to them. This method of control is especially effective when applied while the beetle population is still low.   

2. Plastic reflective mulches seem to ward off some insects like whitefly and perhaps these beetles, too.  The mulch can be placed on the ground as a cover, or strips hung over the crop; some gardeners have hung old CD’s and aluminum foil.   

 3. Row covers - thin woven cloths are placed over the plants to simply exclude the beetles. The covers, of course, must be put on before the beetles arrive.  

 4. In some cases, wood chip mulch applied to the ground may disrupt the insect’s life cycle and minimize its population.  

 5. Vacuum- if you’re really frustrated send off for a special ‘crop- vac’ (crop vacuum) called a D-Vac.  This cleaning devise is not for rugs but actually sucks the bugs with minimal damage to the plant. (see for interesting information)