Sorry for the random question, but does anyone know what beetle this is? Just under an inch long.
Looks like Ringo, but could be Paul. Sorry, couldn’t resist, and before all the grammar police start, I do know it is not spelt the same
Indoor or outdoor?
I think it’s a cockchafer. Seems a bit late in the year, I think they come out in late May… they are about an inch long, though.
I think Robin is correct, but this year has been the year of the beetle and everything else that flies and crawls in the garden, this one I have had a running battle with for weeks, never seen so many and if you relax all your lilies are gone in a couple of days…
add to that diseases that have taken out three mature shrubs, one a rare Cotinus, and the fact that authorities have banned virtually all pesticides and fungicides that actually work, there is not a single fungicide for any lily disease available now, and it is a losing battle at the moment.
Complete defoliation of the Polygonatums by Solomon’s Seal Sawfly caterpillars this year. These things are like biblical plagues when they strike, aren’t they? Fortunately, we’re on top of the Lily Beetles, as we have a lot of lilies. The other horror this year is Quince Leaf Blight on the quince tree - it will defoliate it if not sprayed, though I hope I got it in time.
When we moved here, we suffered badly from vine weevils. For complex reasons, I ordered two different kinds of parasitic nematodes, and watered them around generously. They completely controlled them, and the wretched things never really made a re-appearance. They are there - you can occasionally turn one up when repotting - but they no longer are much of a threat. That was a great investment.
I just caught the start of the infestation on my Solomon’s seals a couple of days ago and have squashed all the caterpillars and am now on close watch. I get mine stripped by the little b*****s most years. I have two patches - the bigger one must have 30-40 plants - and if I don’t spot them in time they can strip a whole lot in a day or two.
I’ve wanted to use nematodes for the slugs up here but have been advised against it as apparently they become progressively less effective the farther north you go as it gets cooler. I did try them once and had zero effect
I’m not sure that’s a cockchafer to be honest. Cockchafers have quite conspicuous antennae which they can open like a fan. Also longer legs.
The Royal Entomological Society offer a free online i.d. service - you could send them your photo and details - https://www.royensoc.co.uk/identifying-insects
Also, you could drop your local county Wildlife Trust a line as they usually can recommend someone able to do this with local knowledge.
How about this fella:
Amphimallon solstitiale - Amphimallon solstitiale , also known as the summer chafer or European june beetle , is a beetle similar to the cockchafer but much smaller, approximately 20 millimetres (0.79 in) in length. They are declining in numbers now, but where found they are often seen in large numbers. At dusk they actively fly around tree tops looking for a mate and can often be found drowning in pools of water the following morning. They are also attracted to light and come in through open, lit windows and fly around lamps, making quite a racket while bumping into lights. They are found throughout the Palearctic region, commonly seen from June to August, living in meadows, hedgerows, and gardens, and eating plants and tree foliage.
Here’s the little chap, reminds me of Denis Healey with those eyebrows…
I am , just on top of the Lily beetle with continuing spraying, but they are only contact sprays, systemic sprays have all or virtually all been withdrawn on safety reasons ?
I cut the Cotinus down this morning it had made nine feet and was glorious but it wilted suspected Verticillium Wilt and it was, no cure , again, so onto the bonfire, great shame as this was Cotinus obovatus a rare species and I had it from a small plant.
This is obviously not my one ! But it shows what a magnificent tree it becomes.
Oh i feel for you, those are my favourite. Growing mine from basically a twig planted last year
Wow that’s nothing like my cotinus, different variety obviously! Mine looks more like this:
Except rather bigger. Mine stays pretty low, maybe a metre in height, but has spread quite widely; at least three maybe four metres in diameter.
I’ve had it about 20 years but it’s never flowered so I’ve never got to see the famous ‘smoke’ blossom.
Something wrong there Mike, there are dwarf varieties of Cotinus, but that is relative, one metre over twenty years is not normal yet you have the width, do you prune it, even doing that would not stop it growing over a metre in a year.
They only flower on old wood so if you do prune each year you will not get flowers, though many people do prune to get a better shaped bush with more new leaf colour.
Getting a bit like gardeners question time ! Makes a pleasant break.
That is the one, must be… thanks
No I don’t really prune it, the weather does that for me!!! and then I cut off the dead wood. I think I’m pushing it’s limits where I am, we regularly get -10 to -15 degrees in the winter and I would say each year at least two thirds to three quarters of the previous year’s growth dies and has to be cut away which is probably why mine is turning into a dwarf variety and also probably why it doesn’t flower
Good call on the summer chafer. A 737 compared with the jumbo jet of the cockchafer. You certainly know when one of the latter has crashed into a window in spring!
On the spraying business, I’ve not had a lot of success using systemics against adult beetles, though they work a treat against larval forms, especially of things like leaf curling caterpillars and aphids.
Shame about the Cotinus. Wilts of one sort or another can get you in all sorts of unexpected ways. Daphnes are very susceptible. Although it can kill one tree/bush, yet leave its neighbour unharmed.
I don’t really understand why @MikeFranklin’s smoke bush isn’t delivering - maybe the wood isn’t ripening enough? Here’s mine -
… just to show a bit of the “smoke”. It’s long past flowering, but it holds the panicles till the seed is ripe. Personally, I prefer the plain green-leaved version as the pink smoke contrasts better with the leaves.
I think from what Mike has said the weather is pruning the shrub for him and he is cutting out the die back, it really needs to be in a sheltered spot that far north.
I agree with your choice of the green leaved version and the one I have just lost starts very pale lemon green with a reddish edge and changes through the season, it also is a good backdrop for the flowers.
My problem now is that being retired and out of the loop my trade contacts gone, means I can’t get my hands on pro pesticides and fungicides as I used to and the EU has slaughtered what was available, I can still get herbicides from farm contacts but that is all now.
I first saw the Cotinus I have lost at a private garden in Kent, Great Comp near Sevenoaks, over 40 years ago, a proper plantsman garden, and hunted one down to buy with difficulty then, like yourself you need space for a lot of these plants and I have been lucky in that respect with several of my gardens as I know you have, it is something I take great pleasure in despite spending most of my working life designing and building gardens for others, a garden is a great leveller for many reasons, I shall miss it when inevitably it all becomes to much, can’t imagine being without.
For the cotinus I think I’m pretty much on the limits of it’s range (remember I am living north of Inverness). Some of my neighbours have almost identical continuses (contini?) to me and theirs are similar sized, get the same annual die off and have only rarely produced the ‘smoke.’ So I think it’s just too cold here. I’ll typically get around 60cm of new growth in a year and in the spring the end 40cm will be well and truly dead. RHS give it’s hardiness as H5 which is pretty much as tender as I can grow here and in bad winters I’ll typically lose some H5 plants.
I’m not too worried as I love the purple foliage and that’s why I bought it.
Apologies that I was forgetting how far north you are, @MikeFranklin - I was thinking it might just be a case of growing tips getting frosted. But I agree that the foliage is worthwhile in its own right.
A fascinating post, @cerberus. I can understand how frustrating it must be if you previously had access to the industrial strength stuff. I’m in two minds about the withdrawal of a lot of chemicals. No doubts at all about the persistent O/Cs of the DDT era. They were wreaking havoc. But some of the more recent withdrawals are a bit borderline.
I agree re nematodes Mike, they worked to a degree down here, but not wonderful. I used them for the dreaded vine weevil which is a nightmare if you have strawberries in a planter. I just put them in the ground now, and use my planters for new potatoes…