This morning I went to water my veggies and saw the ground moving under my feet. Legions of red and black stripped blister beetles were everywhere on my tomatoes, peppers, cabbages and anything with a leaf. And if you squish them they burn your skin. In a few hours they had eaten almost every green leaf in my garden. I hit them with chickens (they don't eat them) then every citrus and cedar oil I had.I used soap and DE and vinegar. And I topped off the dirt with cedar shavings. The beetles got the message and left. Leaving me with a decimated garden. I do not know if my tomatoes will bounce back from all this leaf loss. I think the beetles were attracted to the rich alfalfa I put on the tomato plants. Since almost everything else is dry and crispy in the yard. I have learned to be more vigilant of my insects and note the circumstances of the invasions. I thought after the June bugs, web worms and grasshoppers left I was in the clear, ha!
I happened to find this huge black beetle pondering across my neighbors basement floor. She almost weighed as much as a full spool of quilting thread and was the size of the palm of my hand. She is a black rain beetle and is a rare find indeed. They take 13 years to mature and both sexes emerge just before rain and fall to mate then burrow underground again. The female does not fly only the male, so that was why she was walking in the basement. She was the neatest bug I have found yet. I set her outside to find a mate in the woods.