HELP!!! Tecoma Stans under attack!

kmccannSeptember 3, 2012

I noticed that my yellow bells were looking pretty sad the past couple of days. I went out to inspect them a few minutes ago and can't believe what I saw. They are covered with these tiny black eggs(?) and the leaves are disintegrated. Does anyone have advice on what to do? I've never had to deal with pests like this before.

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plstqd(9)

Mine have the exact same problem. Some of those black things I think are eggs, but most is feces from whatever it is that's eating them. I trimmed off as much of the damaged areas as I could, and have been treating them with neem oil. It's too soon to know yet whether or not it's helping. Try as I might, I haven't been able to find the actual critter that's doing the damage.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 10:19AM
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tomatofreak(Z9 Phx USA)

I suspect you have an infestation of black aphids. They are horrible! Check out this site for some means of controlling them. Meantime, just shoot the plant with jet streams of water to knock as many off as possible. If you can get rid of them, try to resist cutting your plant back until it cools off - if it ever does.

Here is a link that might be useful: aphid management

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 11:58AM
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tomatofreak(Z9 Phx USA)

Forgot to say, google images of black aphids to see if they match what you've got.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 11:59AM
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plstqd(9)

tomatofreak, I don't believe they are black aphids. I'll try and get a closeup photo later today.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 3:29PM
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plstqd(9)

Here's a closeup. You can see that the black "dots" are not insects -- it's some sort of insect feces.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 8:33PM
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tomatofreak(Z9 Phx USA)

Have you inspected the plant for caterpillars? I can't imagine what else it might be. (Those little doodies look like teeny blackberries, lol!) Can you find any other clues, e.g., webs, sticky stuff, etc.? I had a similar thing happen to my sage a couple of years back; the leaves just began to brown and disintegrate. By the time someone helped me ID the pest as mealy bugs, it was too late; the plant died. Hope you can get it under control soon.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 9:06PM
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Pagancat(Phoenix, AZ)

As a first line of defense, I'd do what TF suggested anyway, and if you can add Dawn dish washing soap to the blasts of water, so much the better.

Even if it doesn't kill the invader, you get a little more time for something else to come along that will eat it, without necessarily killing them too.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 1:15PM
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plstqd(9)

Pagancat, I don't know about kmmcann's plants, but my plants have been under attack for over two months, and I haven't seen any signs that anything wants to eat whatever critter this is. I tried a "live and let live" approach for a long time and only in the last couple of weeks did I start chemically treating them. I'm afraid at this point that if I don't do something serious, I'm going to lose the plants.

Makes me mad, too, because we planted them after our (snoopy!) neighbor cut down a tree that provided some privacy to our patio. We wanted something quick growing and pretty that would screen us from his second floor window, but because this critter really seems to like the fresh new growing tips of the plants, they have gone nowhere fast :(

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 5:13PM
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plstqd(9)

Look who I found! It's no wonder I haven't been able to see anyone, he was wrapped up tight inside this leaf, snacking away. I pried apart a few other leaves, but didn't find any more. I've been looking, but can't seem to find out what it is, so if anyone knows, please share. You can see by the size of him in relation to the toothpicks that he isn't very big, barely 3/8 of an inch long.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 6:31PM
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tomatofreak(Z9 Phx USA)

You have leafrollers.

Here is a link that might be useful: leafrollers

    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 3:42PM
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plstqd(9)

Yes indeedy. BT to the rescue! And thanks so much for the help :)

kmccann, sorry for taking over your thread, but I do believe we found our culprit. I bought some BT at Lowes, and am looking forward to caterpillars with tummy aches, and some nice new leafy growth.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 7:59PM
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neurotic

You can BT but in my personal experience they keep coming. I don't know if the rain washes the BT off but I gave up spraying mine. I usually hand pick a dozen of these little guys off my tecoma every other day. The tecoma grows so vigorously a little damage doesn't seem to bother mine.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 9:41PM
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kmccann

Thank you for all of the replies! My husband mixed up a batch of insecticide for his monthly exterior spray the next day. I had him douse the plants. It worked! The damage completely stopped and I know have new growth on the damaged areas.

I too planted them for privacy and was so upset when I saw the plants withering before my eyes. I only planted them last fall. They came from 1 gallon conatianers and have easily tripled their size. I'm so glad we aren't going to need to start all over again:) plstqd, it sounds like you were able to eradicate the pest as well. Congratulations! Thanks you again for all of your help. I don't chime in very often, but I utilize this forum all the time.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 2:43PM
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yuman(9)

hey guys you should try useing Diatomaseous Earth mixed with water and spray the plant.It kills crawling insects.
Not to be confused with swiming pool DE.
I use it on all my garden plants
[walmart garden center.]

    Bookmark   January 6, 2013 at 10:51PM
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vlc4649

AAAH! I have that, This is the second year in a row these gross poop/webs have attacked my plants. I still can not find those little caterpillar guys. Where did you locate him? Near the poop-webs? on the bottom? I blast the plant every other day with some water but I do not think I am knocking those suckers off.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 1:38PM
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aztreelvr

From the University of Arizona, Cooperative Extension.....

Reports have been flooding in about unusual damage to landscape plants, such as Tecoma stans (yellow bells) and Tecoma alata (orange jubilee). Dark larval droppings, webbing and a loss of green leaf tissue are the obvious signs and symptoms of activity by the leaf-tier caterpillar, Antigastra catalaunalis. The moth larvae tie the leaf over themselves with silk webbing as they feed, effectively hidden from predators.

Contact insecticides will not be effective in killing this pest, because the leaf-tying behavior will prevent product contact with the pest. Products that contain the toxin from Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies kurstaki (Bt) should be effective when applied correctly and at the highest labeled rate.

Here is a link that might be useful: More information on Tecoma caterpillar

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 1:04PM
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goldie11

They're baaaaack! My Tecoma Stans (Orange Jubilee) are definitely showing signs of this pest again this year. I have sprayed BT on them as directed by the U of A Cooperative Extension, BUT since these little pests roll up in the leaves and seal themselves in, the spray doesn't reach them. Is there another way to apply BT to this plant? The only BT I've found works with a sprayer.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2013 at 4:39PM
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richsd

Mine have the same damage. I thought it might be thrips? I haven't sprayed them yet.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2013 at 7:03PM
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JaySone

I had the same thing and ended up buying some Sevin spray and it did the trick, killed the bugs overnight and the plant kept growing.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sevin spray

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 12:53PM
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plstqd(9)

"I have sprayed BT on them as directed by the U of A Cooperative Extension, BUT since these little pests roll up in the leaves and seal themselves in, the spray doesn't reach them."

BT doesn't kill on contact with the caterpillars but rather when they injest leaves that have been sprayed with BT, so you don't need to spray right on the little critters, just saturate the leaves. You will also need to reapply the BT every 5 days (I think? It says on the label). I found it very effective on my shrubs after a few applications.

I wouldn't personally use Sevin as it is so toxic.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 4:37PM
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pumpkineater2

I hate these so much. It destroyed and killed my plant which was doing so good. I didn't know where to turn to. Out of anger I took one of the little devils and incinerated it on the glass top stove:)

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 10:41PM
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GeeS 9b

^ WTH??????

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 11:19PM
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Raimeiken - z9b - Peoria, AZ

Just noticed today that mine are under attack by this pest as well. I trimmed up all the affected areas, hopefully won't come back but if they do ill have to turn to spraying them.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 6:59PM
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Glendale_gardener(9)

Mine are under attack too. I trimmed the affected areas yesterday, only to see more damage today. This morning I found two little caterpillars and pulled them off, going to get some bt today and try that. What terrible pests!

    Bookmark   August 16, 2014 at 12:49PM
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Raimeiken - z9b - Peoria, AZ

Yes mine is still getting them. But luckily my plants are growing pretty fast. I haven't applied BT yet.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2014 at 3:31PM
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gueraface

Glad I looked here, coz I have them too on my Bells of Fire. Will have to try BT and see what happens. Question,...I'm new to AZ....can I put it in a really large pot for the winter or does it have to be planted in the ground?

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 11:40AM
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Raimeiken - z9b - Peoria, AZ

They easily take our winters here. You can see them planted all over the valley, some over 10ft tall.

They might die back in the cold but will spring back to life in the spring, just like bougainvilleas.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 10:07PM
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