What's eating the mint?

organic-kiki(Zone 6)May 23, 2006

I have a mint that has been growing without care (sometimes being mowed down) for about 20 years. I am not sure but think it is either a peppermint or catnip....I will try this summer to determine what it is. Every summer I notice that even tho it grows well part of the leaves seem to shrivel and get little spots that look black but really are kind of see thru. Today I found a bug (never looked before) that is about 1/4 inch, orange body and head, black stripes on back and what look like tiny black wings with a yellow stripe on them. My concern with this now is that I have put in a flower bed that I am sure the mint will invade as the bed is touching the mint. I didn't think of this before, but if there is something attacking the mint I don't want it to attack other plants. I thought most insects left mint alone.

Kiki

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marymd7

I think it's just a bug (possibly a lightning beetle?) and that it has nothing to do with the spots you get on the mint leaves which are probably fungal or bacterial speck of somekind and which, in any event, are completely unlikely to slow down the doggone mint. My mint gets a little tatty looking much like that as the summer wears on. I suspect the heat and relative drought stress the plant and make it more susceptible to the foliage disease. Whatever. Again, it isn't doing the mint any real harm in the long or short run. Were I you, I wouldn't worry about the bug (which would probably be perfectly capable of making its way to the flower bed even without the proximity to the mint). Instead, I would worry about installing some kind of root barrier to keep the mint from invading the flower bed -- or at least slow it down.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2006 at 11:11AM
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gw:organic-kiki

Maybe this guy is not the culprit, but only looks guilty.
Kiki

    Bookmark   May 23, 2006 at 11:34AM
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robbins(z5/6 MO)

I'm guessing it's spittle bugs - little orangish red bugs that leave dark brownish/black spots on the leaves. Hateful little critters that turn beautiful mint into a spotty mess. They never seem to bother much else - just mints and balms.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2006 at 10:58PM
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gw:organic-kiki

Thanks, I'll check it out,
Kiki

    Bookmark   May 24, 2006 at 11:39PM
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pnbrown

I wish something would eat my mint.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2006 at 8:16PM
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buttercupia(zone4 IA)

Sometimes plants that spread a lot get very crowded in the roots over time and it causes them to stress out because they're not getting enough nutrients, water, etc as they need it, so they get spots and turn black etc. I had some "Snow on the Mountain" that got very black and ratty looking every August because it's in a dry spot and very crowded. I tninned it out.. actually, I pulled all of it out, but it's still there.. just a lot healthier looking now. I bet if you dug up the mint and pulled nearly all the roots out, it might be a lot healthier looking. As to keeping it out of your flower bed... good luck!

    Bookmark   May 27, 2006 at 2:14AM
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sarah_m

If anyone's reading this four years later (because you have a similar problem) I suggest you Google "FOURLINED PLANT BUG".

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 10:18PM
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