flea beetles and other pests in butterfly garden
I have noticed flea beetles eating the blooms of the echinacea, and bugs that I think are black-and-red stink bugs on the butterfly bush.
When I find flea beetles in my vegetable garden I usually spray them with a soap spray, but since these on on the flowers that attract butterflies, is that a good idea?
As for the stink bugs, they're quite numerous and are on all parts of the b'fly bush: stems, leaves and flowers. I've been knocking them off into a tub of soap solution, but don't know if I'm ever going to get them all. This is the first time I've seen these bugs anywhere. It would take a lot of work for them to kill the bush, but they are definitely doing damage (chewed leaves and stems, and damaged blooms),
Any ideas how to deal with these critters and still attract bees and butterflies?
Albemarle County Virginia
You have several kind of insects and the control for them could be different. In any case, insecticidal soap should provide some control but to avoid impacting the butterflies and bees, spray in late evening just before sun-down. A relatively new product that should control the chewing insects is Acelepryn. It may be expensive but it is fairly safe on the bees and other beneficial insects. No pesticide safe or otherwise should be sprayed white honeybees, bumblebees, or butterflies are foraging (feeding) on flowers. Schedule sometime after they have finished working for the day- probably between 8 and 9 p.m.