When Weeding Stops Being Polite and Starts Getting REAL

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We have encountered infestation upon infestation this season, the first time ever for us to have to battle so many wars on so many fronts.  When things like this happen, and you grow organically like we do, you need to figure out some options.  What isn’t an option, is what most people would flock to, some Sevin dust, or some sort of Monsanto product.  Us fringe wackos use things like diatomaceous earth, or neem oil, or Pyrethrin.  Things that work, but aren’t a 100% knockout punch.  This morning, one of our WWOOF’ers, Heidi, and I were weeding in a bell pepper bed, and we had scores of uninvited guests also present with us.  These pictures I am about to show you are graphic in nature, and not suitable for all eyes.

These are Blister Beetles.  When squished, or if they get on you and give you a nibble, they have a defensive secretion that causes your skin to blister.  The chemical they secrete is harvested in certain species of beetles and used to remove warts.  I wasn’t expecting this kind of excitement at 6am, but at least I had on socks and shoes.   Poor Heidi had on shorts and flip-flops.  We soldiered on, the whole time thinking “NO WHAMMIES!!!”


Not only were the beetles on the pepper plants themselves, but on all of the weeds we were pulling.  I would sweep them to the side with my glove and then pull.  What’s the saying?  Hindsight is always 20/20?  Well, in hindsight, we probably should have got the hell out of there…it was like weed pulling Vietnam.  Poisonous bugs EVERYWHERE, that harbor a blistering agent…those sneaks.

The thing about these bugs, is that there are 7500 varieties of them.  These happen to be striped.  The ones we fought off in Big Poppa (Hoop House #2) were all black…they were goth blister beetles.  AND, these bugs were not there yesterday.  Ladies and gentlemen out there in cyber-land, if you know how to communicate with these devils, please let me know.  I’d like to make peace and show them some nice and tasty weeds to munch.  Isn’t that strange when you think about it?  Mammals and insects are no dummies when it comes to a tasty snack.  They wait until it’s practically ripe even…I just blew your minds, chew on that for a while.

It was definitely a party.  I went on one of those google searches to find a picture of a blister from a blister beetle.  I found the most gentle one to share, they can really tear a person up…so you’re welcome.


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6 responses »

  1. Eeeewwwwwww. Those are creepy. Even more creepy than you made them sound when we talked about them last time.
    Please tell us you are blister free!!

  2. wow, you know i try to buy organic when i can afford it. and the word “organic” just sounds so nice and wholesome, but now i see why i pay more for the stuff. this give me a whole new perspective of how people farmed on a large scale before pesticides

    • That sounds like it was a lot of work. Organic gardening requires reduced expectations of flawless gardens and a lot of labour. Do you post about organic solutions and pest control often, because I’d like to keep getting new ideas on those topics . . . ?

  3. Neem oil and diotamatios earth on high quantities is what worked last year for us but it took several days for the neem oil to effect their digestive systems, neem stops their digestion , sorry Amanda and paul

  4. They appear to dislike vibrations. Herb walks through the gardens with a big shovel or rake and thumps it methodically as he goes. May dissuade them a bit…then the diatomaceous earth and neem. you could try fertiliaing those peppers with a fish emulsion/.kelp foliar feed, or A 35…I think all the bug problems can be most effectively combatted or eliminated with proper soil balances and conditions. Easy to say, hard to do. Soil building is where the buck stops with growing food.

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