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CULT: little black beetles

Hi All,

I need help with a preemptive strike against some little black beetles.  
Last year, for the first time, my irises were attacked by small, 
hard-bodied black beetles - slightly smaller than ladybugs, if memory 
serves (which it may not). I've never seen these beetles before last 
summer, and they seemed to hatch just as the TBs were starting to bloom.  
The MDBs, SDBs, and early IBs bloomed without damage, but the BBs, MTBs, 
TBs, and Sibs were consumed *in bud* by these miserable black beetles.  
Their flowers opened with numerous small holes already chewed through 
them, and once open, the flowers inevitably harbored one or more of the 
voracious beetles.

Apparently the systemic insecticide, Merit, doesn't kill these things, 
since I treated all my irises with Merit last spring.  Have any of you 
dealt successfully with similar, iris flower eating beetles in your 
gardens, and if so, how?  I would prefer some type of beetle lure and 
trap, if such things exist, since I am loathe to use toxic chemicals 
around my 4-legged family (Merit, BTW, contains the same active 
ingredient as Advantage pet flea control products, so I feel reasonably 
safe using it around my animals).

I would truly appreciate any advice or suggestions anyone might be able 
to offer.  These *&^%*& beetles made me crazy last summer.  I couldn't 
even salvage my flowers by cutting the stalks and bringing them inside to 
bloom, since the beetles were already IN the buds!

Help, please!


USDA zone 3b, AHS zone 4 - northern MN
normal annual precipitation 26-27"
slightly acid clay soil

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