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If you are trying to avoid using man-made chemical pesticides in your garden to kill golden tortoise beetles and other leaf-eating pests, there is a natural, non-toxic insecticide product you can use to get rid of them, all the while being safer for bees, birds, and other pollinators. This is important if you grow fruits or vegetables in your garden or if you are environmentally or health-conscious.
Although golden tortoise beetles are perhaps the most attractive insect in the garden next to butterflies, they are also incredibly destructive for people who like to keep morning glory vine displays or grow sweet potatoes.
These beetles munch holes through the leaves of both plants, ruining their ornamental value. There is also a naively held belief that the beetles will only attack morning glory and sweet potato vines.
But if a gardener yanks down their morning glory vines to control the infestation, he or she will soon be disappointed to find that these bugs will jump to other greens, eating through the leaves of such plants as zinnias and mallow. That's because the bugs still need to eat no matter what, and there are plenty of palatable leaves in the common garden for these little pests.
The Problem With Man-Made Pesticides
Although commercial chemical pesticides are an instant cure, they also might hurt bees and your family through exposure to sprayed plant life, or through eating produce raised in the garden. Commercial pesticides in the water table also can be a cause for concern.
Man-made pesticides generally work through smothering the bugs with neurotoxins. There is also debate over whether man-made pesticides are causing colony collapse disorder in bees. Bees are the gardener's best friend, so it is ideal for us to look out for them as well.
Long-term exposure to chemical pesticides might hurt humans. For example, studies by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Harvard University detail increased risks of Parkinson's disease, depression, and lower sperm counts in men when exposed for extended periods to man-made pesticides.
How to Get Rid of Golden Tortoise Beetles
To keep the golden tortoise beetle from treating your garden like a salad buffet, and to keep you and your family safe from chemicals, the most natural solution is Neem Bliss. Organic Neem Bliss works against most bugs that eat or suck at the leaves in your garden because it is 100% natural neem oil. It will not hurt honeybees, earthworms, ladybugs, or adult butterflies when applied. Bees and other pollinators also do not avoid plants sprayed with this solution.
Neem oil is made from the leaves and shoots of the ancient neem tree (Azadirachta indica), which is native to India. The leaves and shoots are even eaten safely by people in India, but to leaf-eating insects the oil is an anti-feedant, repellent, and egg-laying deterrent, which protects your plants from damage as the bugs die off.
Neem Bliss is generally mixed in a ratio of 2 tablespoons to 1 tablespoon of dish soap to 1 gallon of water. This oil gives you a lot of product for your money because it is basically a concentrate.
In addition to morning glory vines and sweet potato leaves, you can spray the Neem Bliss solution on any flowering plants and edibles in your garden, such as apple trees, peanut plants, and cucumber vines up to the day of harvest.
I use this solution regularly on my flowering ornamental cherry tree, as well as my apple trees that my family eats from.
I recommend application before sunrise or early morning so the sun does not dry the solution on the leaves immediately.
Identifying Tortoise Beetles
Neem Bliss Application Tips:
- Place the solution in an unused spray bottle.
- Shake the bottle of the solution up occasionally as you walk through your garden so the natural neem oil doesn't separate.
- Apply the solution onto vines and areas where you find clusters of golden tortoise beetles. You will sometimes find these bugs mating on the leaves, especially if you have an infestation of them.
- Spray the solution a few days in a row to be rid of the beetles faster.
Pollinator-Friendly Application Tips:
- Because pollinators would not encounter neem oil in the wild, keeping their exposure to a minimum is still ideal.
- Spray neem oil onto leaves and avoid flowers. This way there is no barrier to the nectar for pollinators.
- Spray neem oil after sunset, when bees are least active.
With all of the potential health problems associated with man-made pesticides, and with the declining bee population, an organic pesticide such as Neem Bliss proves to be a much better solution for the natural home garden. You can once again look forward to having hole-free morning glory vines to show off to your neighbors.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Questions & Answers
Question: Does the neem product kill tortoise beetles or just discourage them from coming back?
Answer: It is an antifeedant, so the beetles will sort of lose their appetite and die off this way.
Question: In your opinion, would Organic Neem Bliss discourage Texas Olive tortoise beetles? I've been using Triple Action Neem Oil (OMRI), but the instructions indicate that it is harmful to pollinators.
Answer: Yes, Neem Bliss is good for beetles of any kind. It also does not kill pollinators but it is best to apply the solution after sunset, since bees are mostly daylight workers in the garden, and it isn't something they would normally ingest in the wild.
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