Asparagus beetle

Asparagus beetle is a widespread and sometimes damaging insect on asparagus during the summer months. Heavy infestations can weaken the plants and cause a poor crop in the following spring.

Asparagus beetle larvae. Credit: RHS/Science.

Quick facts

Common name Asparagus beetle
Scientific name Crioceris asparagi
Plants affected Vegetable asparagus, but not ornamental Asparagus species
Main symptoms Presence of beetles or their grubs on the plant. The foliage is eaten and may dry up and turn brown
Most active May-September

What is asparagus beetle?

Both the adult and larval stages of asparagus beetle eat the foliage of asparagus, they can also gnaw bark from stems, causing growth above the point of damage to dry up.

Adult Asparagus beetles
Adult Asparagus beetles
    Adult Asparagus beetles Adult Asparagus beetles


    • The adult beetles are 6-8mm long (about 1/4in), black in colour with six yellow blotches on their wing cases and a reddish thorax
    • They can fly and so can reinvade asparagus patches from nearby
    • The adult beetles and their grubs feed on asparagus foliage and bark
    • If the bark around the stem circumference has been completely removed, the stem and foliage above dries out and turns yellow brown


    Non-chemical control

    • Light infestations are unlikely to affect cropping in subsequent years.
    • Hand pick the beetles and larvae from plants when seen from late spring onwards.
    • Burning old stems at the end of the year may destroy some overwintering beetles.   

    Chemical control

    • Large plantings, where hand removal is not feasible, can be sprayed with the organic insecticide pyrethrum (e.g. Bug Clear Gun for Fruit & Veg, Pyrol Bug & Larvae Killer or Defenders Bug Killer, ecofective Bug Killer (also contains fatty acids))
    • No synthetic insecticides are available to the home gardener for control of pests on asparagus
    • Plants in flower should not be sprayed to avoid harming bees and other pollinating insects
    • Inclusion of a pesticide product does not indicate a recommendation or endorsement by the RHS. It is a list of products currently available to the home gardener


    Pesticides for gardeners (Adobe Acrobat pdf document outlining pesticides available to gardeners)


    • The beetles emerge from overwintering sites in May and June and lay elongate black eggs that are attached by one end to the asparagus spears and foliage
    • The adult beetles can fly and are very adept at locating patches of asparagus 
    • The creamy greyish-black larvae reach up to10mm long (3/8in) when fully grown
    • They pupate in the soil 
    • There are two generations between May and September
    • In the autumn, adult beetles seek sheltered places where they overwinter

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