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(Asiatic Garden Beetles are a new pest in the mid-atlantic and northeast US. They look like a smaller, cinnamon-colored European Chafer, the size and shape of a coffee bean. The grubs do the usual grub thing. The adults are nocturnal and feast on vegetable and flower foliage.)

We're in NH, and are going to lose our basil plants if I don't come up with a way to control these things (adults) within a few days - they are defoliating the plants. I'm thinking to put row cover over the plants, but I want to be sure I'm going to be keeping the beetles out - not in!

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Unfortunately, as I live in the UK, where this beetle isn't a problem, I can't offer you any advice based on personal experience. However, I have just done a quick search and hope the following links help. Apparently, the adult beetles spend their days just below the surface of the soil - close to their favorite meal! - before emerging at night. There is a very full article about their lifestyle, by Virginia Tech, here.

There is another very informative paper on their life cycle and steps that can be taken to control them, by the University of New Hampshire, here

  • @Ed: Based on the UNH paper, it sounds like row covers would just be keeping them in. – bstpierre Jul 9 '11 at 22:30
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I made bags to go over the plants out of window screening, using carpet thread for the seams. It worked well. I tucked the mouth of the bags an inch or so into the dirt. After three weeks or so, I removed them. The beetles didn't return.

I think a very lightweight row cover - the kind that's purely for insect control - would have worked fine if used the same way.

  • thanks for coming back and updating/answering. a photo showing your technique would also be great, if you were able to manage it. – Tea Drinker Aug 31 '11 at 17:08

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