Beetroot is one of my favourite filler crops. They are easy to grow from seed and great in salads and pickles. But like all veggies this one is not immune to being eaten by pests.
Prevention is always better so there are steps you can take to prevent the crop being eaten but also if you do have an unwanted invader read on to find out what you can do about it.
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What Is Eating My Beetroot Leaves?
There are a few common culprits when it comes to eating beetroot leaves. One of the most common is the beet armyworm, a tiny caterpillar that feeds on the leaves of the beet plant.
Another common culprit is the leafhopper, a tiny insect that sucks the sap out of the leaves. Both of these pests can be controlled with insecticide. Here are some other culprits that you need to be aware of.
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1. Cutworms and Other Caterpillars
Cutworms are caterpillars that can cause severe damage to beetroot crops. These voracious eaters can strip a plant of its leaves in days, causing extensive damage to the crop. Cutworms are particularly fond of beetroot leaves and can often hide in the soil near the plants.
Cutworms can be controlled with several different methods. One is to remove them by hand and dispose of them simply. Another is to use a biological control such as Bacillus thuringiensis, a bacteria that kills caterpillars. Finally, you can use chemical controls such as insecticides. However, these should be used as a last resort, as they can kill beneficial insects.
2. The Aphid Infestation
Aphids are small, soft-bodied insects that are typically green or black. They are often found feeding on the leaves of plants and can cause significant damage if left unchecked. Beetroot plants are particularly susceptible to aphid infestation, as the insects are attracted to the sweet sap of the leaves. This can result in the leaves being distorted and discolored, and the plant may be killed in severe cases.
Aphid control is therefore essential to protect beetroot plants. Several methods can be used, including chemical sprays, biological control (using predators or parasites), and physical removal (such as squishing the insects by hand). Whichever method is used, it is essential to act quickly to prevent the aphids from doing too much damage.
3. Ground-Dwelling Black Beetles
Many different species of black beetles can be found dwelling in the ground. Some of these beetles are known to feed on beetroot leaves, which can cause damage to the plant.
To protect your beetroot plants from these pests, it is essential to identify the type of black beetle in your garden. Once you have identified the beetle, you can take steps to control its population and prevent it from causing further damage to your plants.
4. Slugs and Snails
Beetroot leaves are a common food source for slugs and snails. These slimy creatures are attracted to the leaves’ moisture and nutrients. While they may not cause significant damage to the plant, their feeding can make the leaves unattractive.
To deter these pests, consider using a physical barrier such as diatomaceous earth or a copper band around the base of the plant. You can also try using a commercial slug and snail bait.
I was quitepretty dismayed to find leafhoppers eating my beetroot leaves. These pests are relatively small, but they can damage crops a lot. They suck the sap out of the leaves, which can cause the leaves to wilt and die. In addition, they can transmit diseases to the plants.
I tried to control the leafhoppers by spraying them with insecticide, but it didn’t seem to work very well. I also wanted to remove them by hand, but there were just too many. Ultimately, I had to give up and replant my beetroot crop.
6. Beet armyworm
The beet armyworm is a destructive pest that feeds on the leaves of beetroot plants. This voracious eater can quickly strip a plant of its leaves, causing severe damage to the plant. The armyworm gets its name from marching across fields in large numbers, devouring everything in its path.
If left unchecked, a beet armyworm infestation can ruin an entire crop. Farmers often use pesticides to control this pest, but the armyworm is becoming increasingly resistant to these chemicals. Some farmers are now turning to biological controls, such as releasing predators or parasites that attack the armyworms, as a more sustainable way to control this pest.
Protect Beetroot Leaves
Insects are a big problem for gardeners. They can destroy crops and ruin gardens. There are many ways to protect your beetroot leaves from insects. One way is to grow plants that are resistant to insects. Another way is to use insecticides. Insecticides can be either chemical or biological.
Chemical insecticides are usually more effective, but they can also harm the environment. Biological insecticides are generally less harmful to the environment, but they may not be as effective.
Growing them in raised beds or containers is the first step if you are constantly overwhelmed by pests.
I am always looking at ways to help my readers so if you have a photo of pests or you want to show off your beetroot harvest please contact me.
Beetroot leaves are a delicious and nutritious addition to any meal, but they can be delicate and susceptible to damage. You can try using some form of physical barrier around your beetroot plants, such as netting or fencing. By taking these precautions, you can help to keep your beetroot leaves from getting eaten.