What’s Eating Your Beet Plant Leaves
Are your once-healthy beetroots getting damaged because someone is chomping away at the beet greens and leaves? Unfortunately, we aren’t the only ones to enjoy what beet greens have to offer. Here are some ways to deal with the primary culprits that could be eating the beet plant leaves.
Cutworms and Other Caterpillars
Cutworms love to spend time eating beet plants and other similar vegetable varieties. These caterpillars typically have dull brown or gray bodies that can grow up two inches long. They spend most of their time in the soil and enjoy chewing away at the base of the plant stem. While not as common, you may also find them chewing at the beet plant leaves as well.
To get rid of cutworms naturally, we suggest trying a number of methods such as sprinkling coffee grounds and egg shells around the base of the plant. You can also try prevention methods such as inserting a ‘collar’ around the base of the beet plant stem so the cutworms aren’t able to climb up.
The Aphid Infestation
Small insects like aphids are also known to eat the leaves of the beet plant. The easiest way to identify them is to look at the underside of the beet plant leaves. They are almost invisible to the naked eye and appear in specks of green, white, and yellow.
To remove the aphids from the beet plant leaves, we suggest spraying the foliage with a pressurized jet of water so that they get washed away. Do this repeatedly for a couple of days until you no longer see any signs of the aphids under the leaves. Make sure the soil where the beet plant is grown is draining properly to prevent the development of plant diseases.
Ground-Dwelling Black Beetles
A variety of beetles, such as the black beetle and flea beetle, also enjoy the leaves of the beet plant. The flea beetle, for example, grows up to about 3 mm long and leaves small circular holes in the leaves and stems of the beetroot plant.
To get rid of these beetles naturally, we suggest sprinkling a fine layer of food grade diatomaceous earth along the perimeter of the plant stem and the foliage. The chalky powder has microscopic edges that will pierce the outer layer of the beetle’s body, which eventually kills them.
Slugs and Snails
If you notice the holes on the leaves after a rainy day then the culprit might also be the slugs and snails. These pests will pretty much eat away at the leaves of many vegetable plants including the beetroot. Fortunately, they aren’t too difficult to get rid of.
Aside from hand-picking the slugs and snails from the beetroot leaves, there are some other natural remedies to eliminate them. You could, for example, set up a beer container trap next to the beetroots or even redirect them to a tastier alternative like emptied grapefruit halves.