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Here's a photo of a bug in Michigan that's eating my tomato, chard, and other plant leaves. Can you identify it? For extra credit, can you tell me how to get rid of it organically?

Mystery Bug

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

Looks like a three lined potato beetle.

I'm assuming control will be as for Colorado potato beetles, as described in "The Organic Gardener's Handbook of Natural Pest and Disease Control", p260, in order of preferred controls to last resorts:

  • shake beetles into a cup of soapy water
  • remove beetles and larvae by hand
  • search for & destroy eggs (bottoms of leaves)
  • spray with Beauvaria bassiana or spinosad
  • spray with neem

Note that B. bassiana and spinosad can kill beneficial insects.

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Toads eat these guys up like salted peanuts. Or next year you could put floating row covers on when planting out to keep out the insects that move in. – kevinsky May 14 '12 at 18:59

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