Burweed, Tomatoes, Cucumber Trees, and Tiger Beetles

Larva of a tiger beetle

Adult tiger beetle

Lawn burweed on the left & a damaged tomato on the right.

A close-up image of a slug inside a tomato

A cucumber tree, a relative of the southern magnolia

Tiger Beetles

Bob saw some holes in the ground around his vegetable plants and found some “worms”. He brought some in for identification.
According to an insect specialist at the AgCenter, Bob has the larval or juvenile form of the tiger beetle, and the good news is the larval and adult stages of the tiger beetle are a beneficial predatory insect. The larva will emerge from holes in the soil to capture its meal with its sizable jaws.


Readers usually send in an image or more of a single issue. However, Walton sent in a 2-for1 image.

Lawn burweed on the left & a damaged tomato on the right. Photo: Walton Baggett

The plant on the left looks like lawn burweed or stickerweed. AHA treats for that weed in February and March to avoid the stickers in April and May. AHA has used Image® with atrazine and had good results. Also, Spectracide® with 2,4-D has worked well for AHA.

The damage in the tomato looks like bird pecking. There are bird repellent products with methyl anthranilate (MA). MA is derived from concord grapes and used for grape flavoring. However, it is a distasteful to birds. AHA found this product online, Methyl Anthranilate 120ml bird repellant 99% purity, for $19.99 + 5.00 shipping.


Earlier in the month, George sent his note with a close-up picture, “ I checked to tomatoes this morning and I noticed what I thought were caterpillar holes, but further investigation, by slicing the tomato, showed that the culprits were slugs! These rains have allowed them to venture up to the tomato fruit. Oh well, time for a few fried green tomatoes. This one was crawling in the open space above the seeds.”Once a pest is inside a tomato or fruit, then it is difficult to control. However, there are treatments to help prevent infestations of slugs.

  • Diatomaceous Earth, Pitfall (beer) traps,
    Baits containing iron phosphate
    • Sluggo®
    • Garden Safe Slug & Snail Bait®

Special Note: To prevent poisoning pets, do not put baits in the pitfall (beer) traps.

Cucumber trees

One of our friends in Texas sent this nice email, “I'm originally from DeRidder, and I have family that still lives there so I still subscribe to your emails- which I love by the way. I moved to Beaumont, TX. This tree/bush is in my backyard beside a HUGE mulberry tree. Since spring it has filled out beautifully and provides a perfect canopy on the back patio. I would love to know what it is, and I was sure you could help with this. Can you please identify it for me …? I have provided several pics from the leaf structure to the entire tree below.

Based on your images, AHA think you have a cucumber tree, a relative of the southern magnolia. The cucumber tree is native to the eastern United States, but not to Texas. Dr. Lisa Samuelson of Auburn University made this description, “Cucumber tree is found on rich, moist sites in the eastern U.S. The pale, hard wood is used for pulpwood, furniture, and framing. This tree is planted as an ornamental for its attractive leaves, flowers and fruit.”

If you want to contact Roots, Shoots, Fruits and Flowers, please send your questions and pictures to Keith Hawkins, Area Horticulture Agent (AHA), 337-463-7006 or khawkins@agcenter.lsu.edu. Also, please share the name of your parish.

“This work has been supported, in part, by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Renewable Resources Extension Act Award, Accession Number 1011417.”

6/6/2019 3:59:43 PM
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