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Managing Picnic Beetles (Sap Beetles)

Don’t share the harvest with picnic beetles this summer. Regular harvesting and sanitation can help reduce problems with this garden pest.

Picnic beetles are small, up to ¼” long, brown or black oval-shaped insects that have a knob on the end of each antenna.

These insects feed on fruits and vegetables in the garden such as corn, tomatoes, raspberries, strawberries and muskmelons. They’re usually secondary pests, meaning they feed on the fruit that was already damaged by another insect or disease. The picnic beetles are attracted to the fermenting fruit and vegetables. Once in the garden, they may also feed on undamaged produce.

Regular harvesting and removal of damaged fruit from the plants and surrounding soil will eliminate their food source and reduce damage.

You can reduce their populations with traps of overripe fruit, stale beer or a molasses-yeast and water mix. Empty the traps and replace the bait every three to four days.

A bit more information: Skip the pesticides. Since these insects are present during harvest, spraying is not practical. The wait time between spraying and harvest means you will have more overripe fruit and vegetables in the garden. And that means more food to attract the picnic beetles.

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