Something is eating my plants!

ekatJune 18, 2011

Hello fellow gardenwebers,

This is my first season doing an organic vegetable garden and I am sick of different things eating my plants!

I overgoogled myself and tried many things. I spray neem oil regularly, I tried beer traps for slugs - non actually drown in there, copper tape - does not seem to work well, cinnamon - no difference, sugar newspapers - it only attracted ants! I am going to try garlic spray and then I am out of options. Please ID the bugs by the wholes they are making and advise on what I should be doing to save my garden.

what are these guys? These are the only bugs I see regularly

holes in eggplant



mint. these do not look like holes, more like a top layer was eaten, but a very thin film under the green part is still there

the same with purple basil

same with cucumbers

basil. this looks more like a slug to me.

tomatoes. who would eat a tomato leaf?

pumpkin again. Is it bugs or is it bacteria? earwigs? flea beetles?

some holes are holes, some have some kind of film left as I said, some look like a sunburn or bacteria. Please advise. Thanks!

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

Okay, bug at the top is a pillbug or sowbug. See link below. And, you might want to be sure to bookmark UC Davis' great gardening site, as it has a very nice Integrated Pest Management approach (starting with control methods that do the least amount of environmental harm), then progressing to more toxic methods. You can pick and choose what will work best for you. Pillbugs are usually not an issue, unless you're seeing them in really large numbers, as they tend to feed on decaying plant material and are actually beneficial.

Slugs & snails- the state of California has been taken over at Biblical proportions by snails, slugs and earwigs due to our very damp and cool temps these last 2 years. You might want to try serious hand picking in the early morning and late evening, to reduce your numbers. Chickens are also good slug/snail management options if you can have them where you live (beware - they may attract coyotes). For me, since I can't have chickens, I've opted to use Sluggo. Works well, is organic (iron phosphate which eventually breaks down and can be absorbed as additional iron by plants). If you're having issues with earwigs as well, then select Sluggo Plus, which is iron phosphate and Spinosid, which is a great option for sucking/chewing insects (Google it). Also organic.

Patty S.

Here is a link that might be useful: UC IPM: Pillbugs

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 2:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you very much for the link. I think I've seen it before. The problem is I am not sure what bugs do the damage. I don't see any. I tried going into the garden after 11 pm with a flash light, but I did not see any slugs or snails. Can you recognize by the holes what bugs are doing the damage? What is that thin film left on the leaves where the top layer is gone (see tomato, purple basil and mint leaves)?

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 3:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I feel your frustration and am having a similar issue. I have been out bug hunting at night and early in the morning. Have yet to catch anything. I am seeing leaves chewed on bites taken out,not so much holes. Have been using Diatomaceous earth which sort of works for me but has to be reapplied if it gets wet. I may try the slugo as I have seen a lot of earwigs this year. They have never been a pest before for me. I think the bigger problem here ,at my place, is the previous owners did not garden organically. Therefor it is not a healthy environment for beneficials. I know how damaging poisons can be so I will never resort to them but keep building up my soil with compost and trying to attract those good creatures.
Some of your plants look healthy despite the pests. The holes look a lot like earwig damage(according to the Western Garden Bk.)A friend of mine got rid of hers by putting a little oil and vinegar in a tuna can. It attracted tons of earwigs and saved their plants. I don't know about the thin film left on the leaves. For myself I have decided to be happy with what crops are surviving and keep working to attract those beneficials. I have two tomato plants full of baby green tomatoes. I am relishing in them for now!

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 7:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

The small holes and especially the "holes" with a thin film remaining, are most likely made by as very young caterpillar working from the underside of the leaf. So if you've not checked there, please start.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2011 at 1:06AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

Yup, agree with Jean. Spray BT if you like. Earwigs are probably doing the other damage. I grew a HUGE crop of earwigs for three years running by using large leaf litter as mulch too close to my house and veggies. I have gotten the problem under control by removing the mulch in the beds adjacent to the house and using compost there instead. I also clean up the leaf litter under the brugmansias now. The oil in the tuna can works, but stake the cans down somehow or you will leave nice snacks, earwigs in oil, for the oppossums. They slurp it right up.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2011 at 2:50AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Renee,anyone, About the mulch. We have a bad earwig problem here this year. I have heard it is somewhat of an epidemic in southern Cal. I did purchase a truckload of bark mulch a few months back and brought it over in buckets from my old place. I know now the earwigs hide in that. But what other organic mulch do you recommend? I do make my own vermicompost (or rather the worms do) but it does not seem to last long as mulch.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2011 at 11:09AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

I know, it's a problem! I just use compost, but there is never enough, and it doesn't last long. And it's expensive! I have stopped mulching altogether in the bed right outside the bedroom, since they crawl under the doors and into the windows. In my veggie beds, this year I put down concrete reinforcing wire and then stretched burlap over it, and planted the squash and cucumbers in a tiny hole in the middle. It seems to be helping- the squash in particular looks less disease-ridden and eaten than it ever has before. I only have bark around the new roses, contained by a barrel hoop, and I police them daily.

I don't know what else to do.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2011 at 3:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

I'm having the same issue with my mulch and slugs hiding under it. I don't seem to have an earwig problem, which is odd because my next door neighbor says she's just crawling with them. And their yard has no mulch anywhere or really any leaf debris. I have to check out my one citrus tree that was absolutely infested with slugs to see if my Sluggo and Spinosad treatments cleared it up (along with a LOT of hand picking, yuck). But, I really have to mulch for water conservation purposes, so I'm kind of stuck.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2011 at 3:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

That's my problem too. I don't dare stop mulching because of how it keeps plants cooler and less in need of a lot of water. I will try to use more compost but I know it won't be good enough. Guess we have figure out which mulch earwigs and slugs don't like; if any. I just went to Lowers after work today and picked up some Bayer Snail and slug bait. It has the same ingredients as Slugo. I am hoping it helps.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2011 at 7:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I found them!!! I decided to cut all the mint down and let it regrow, since this sometimes helps I read. And while I was doing it I found a couple of VERY small bright green caterpillars! I am going to get some sluggo if this method of cutting everything down does not help. And I am also going to try just spraying some gentle soap with water. I really do not want any chemical son herbs what I am going to eat.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2011 at 1:28PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Agapanthus are blooming!
But is anyone else bothered by them? These dwarf Agapanthii...
LADWP turf removal rebate
Hello! My partner and I bought our house in March....
Has anyone tried gooseberries and currants?
I love fruiting plants so much but being in the Bay...
trees wont grow
i bought these crepe myrtle trees about 4 years ago.i...
Carlos Hernandez
New home owner... looking for gardening ideas...
Hey everyone. I am a new home owner... there is currently...
Joseph Wind
Sponsored Products
Park Avenue Chandelier by Trend Lighting
$1,550.00 | Lumens
Arch Arbor: Tierra-Derco Bacchus Arch Arbor
$158.98 | Hayneedle
5'x7' Antiqued Heriz Recreation Oriental Rug Handmade Vegetable Dyes Sh20239
1800 Get A Rug
Moonrays Plant Hooks Shelves & Stands Outdoor Solar Powered LED Black
$24.99 | Home Depot
Outdoor Rust Round Resin Festonada Urn Planter - Set of 2 - CTG051
$160.01 | Hayneedle
Hartman and Rose Rodeo Drive Dog Collar
$69.50 | FRONTGATE
Suspension Plant Shade in Blue
$13.99 | Dot & Bo
Bougainvillea Bouquet
$525.00 | Horchow
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™