IDENTIFICATION — True to their name, these beetles have yellow bodies with three black stripes running down their length. Their heads are red-orange with thick black antennae.
DAMAGE — Larvae and adults chew ragged holes in the leaves of datura, nicotiana, tomato, potato and some other vegetables in midspring to midsummer.
CONTROL — Handpick adults in early spring if you can see them. As soon as you see damage in spring, mix up and spray tops and bottoms of leaves with Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), a beneficial bacteria you can buy in granular or liquid form. Repeat spraying every week or so until midsummer. Dust plants with Sevin® in early spring to kill the beetles. To avoid scorching plant leaves, don’t apply Sevin in liquid form during the hottest part of the day or if temperatures are above 85 degrees.