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Holes in Leaves of Morning Glory and Sweet Potato Vines

Holes in the leaves of morning glory and sweet potato vine may be the first clue your plants are infested with goldbug.

This 5 to 7 mm long bright gold beetle is also known as the golden tortoise beetle.  Both the adult and larvae feed on the leaves of all members of the morning glory family. Their feeding creates numerous small holes that often create a lacy look to the leaves. 

Fortunately, their damage usually does not warrant treatment.  Natural predators, like parasitic wasps and damsel bugs, will feed on the golden tortoise beetles, keeping their populations under control.  Plus, the morning glory and sweet potato vines produce enough leaves to mask the damage.

If you feel you must control these pests, try hand picking the beetles off the plant and dropping them into a can of soapy water. Or use one of the eco-friendly insecticides, like Neem, labeled for controlling this beetle.

A bit more information:  Aphids may also be a problem, especially in hot dry weather. They suck plant juices, causing leaves to curl, wilt or discolor. A strong blast of water will dislodge and control small populations. Insecticidal soap and horticulture oils can be used if needed.

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