Do not be fooled by the attractive plumage of this beetle. This handsome fellow is a predator of the first order and should be destroyed on sight. I spotted him yesterday evening when, as the sun came out, it just glinted off the shiny back of the insect. I was looking over the various herbs in my patch and was lucky to be in the right place at the right time.
Although undoubtedly very beautiful to look at, I remembered seeing a warning poster during my day out at Jekka McVicar's herb farm and I was certain this could be the very culprit. It was the bold jewel coloured stripes that reminded me so I continued to squish and search by hand brushing through my herbs. I found three in a short space of time.
|~ My thumb gives an idea of the beetle's size ~|
I spoke to Jekka today who confirmed my suspicions. She farms all her herbs organically and suggested the following method of control: Get hold of a yellow sticky trap (a google search will offer plenty of outlets or ask your local garden centre), peel back one side to expose the sticky surface and lay it flat on the soil under the infested plant, sticky side up. Gently tap the plant so that the beetles fall onto the trap. Destroy.
Jekka also reminded me that the RHS are the only people doing valuable and essential entomological research on this subject and, as gardeners, it's vital that we support the RHS, if we can, by becoming members - with the bonus that you can get entry into some spectacular gardens and get lots of advice, if needed.
Unfortunately for me, London is flagged up as one of the main areas where these beetles have established colonies. I didn't know until recently to look out for these beetles but will now be extra vigilant - and I've joined the RHS. And now for the close up:
|~ Beautiful but deadly for herbs ~|