My poor eggplants are having a rough time. First slugs attacked the bottom leaves, and then something else began munching on the upper leaves tearing ragged holes:
I’ve been carefully examining the plants every day to try to spot the culprit. I think I found it:
This is the Three Lined Potato Beetle. It feeds on plants in the nightshade family, including potatoes, tomatoes, and eggplants. They are pretty quick at hiding by ducking behind leaves, dropping to the ground, or taking off as I approach. I spotted a few of these last year, but they never made much of an impact.
I am growing potatoes for the first time this year, and believe in doing so is attracting more nightshade pests to the garden.
Once I was able to identify the pest on the eggplant as the Three Lined Potato Beetle, I looked at the potato plants more carefully and spotted a few in the potato patch as well:
I found the easiest way to exterminate these is to use a container of soapy water. Place the container under the beetle and hover your hand above, palm side down. The beetle will not be able to fly and will instead drop from its perch directly into the soapy water. The eggs are found on the underside of the leaves, I also place the soapy container beneath them and scrape them off with a stick and dip it into the soapy water. Or just pick off the leaf and dunk it into the soapy water.
Not a huge infestation on the potatoes, but close examination of the leaves will have to commence from now on in order to seek and destroy any further eggs that are found.