Darn Worms on my Petunias

tracm(9 CA)July 23, 2006

Man, they are really going to town this year. I have several Petunias in pots around my yard and I barely can get a bloom without those obnoxious worms munching them. I have tried Dr. Earth's organic spray then moved on to Safer insect spray, but to no avail. I think I am going to have to go for the big guns now and get a heavy insectiside. Anybody else been having this problem?

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If they're being eaten by those tobacco budworms, I had that problem last year on my Pelargoniums. I never did use anything on them other than my scissors every morning. Rather satisfying snipping them in half. :)

Nothing this year...yet.


    Bookmark   July 23, 2006 at 11:20AM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

Don't bother with the big guns.

Instead, use Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) because it is specific for caterpillars. Bt is an ingredient, not a brandname. But if you ask for an "organic or natural caterpillar killer," the personnel at the garden center are likely to know what you want.

Every garden center sells Bt under one or several brandnames. All work. Repeat according to directions.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2006 at 2:09PM
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I agree with Jean - Bt will kill the worms - Non toxic to every thing else.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2006 at 7:26PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

Another vote for BT.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2006 at 7:40PM
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lyael(z10 CA, ss 23)

Is this effective for any worms? I have (this year, for the first time) little green worms chewing lacework into all my salvias, also plectranthus. I've been trying to pick them off, but they're hard to spot, and I guess I'm not doing a very good job, because those plants are a mess.

What are the drawbacks of BT? Is it safe around kids? I've never sprayed anything because, first, four little kids, and second, don't want to hurt the good bugs. I understand that BT is specific to worms/caterpillars, but there must be some drawbacks, no?

    Bookmark   July 25, 2006 at 4:07AM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

For any "wowrms" which are caterpillars -- that is, the kids of butterflies and moths.

Bt is so safe that it can be used on edibles the same day you eat them. It is specific to caterpillars.

The drawbacks are that it kills butterfly larvae -- thus, butterfly gardeners don't like it at all.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2006 at 7:26PM
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Caterpillars were eating my petunias, too.....so I pick them off when I see them and chuck them over my wall, into the field. That way, they're happy and I'm happy. Gave the petunias a hair cut and they're back to being happy, too.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2006 at 2:15PM
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andy_e(SF Bay CA 9/14)

Google is your friend...there is a great article that tells you all about Bt right here.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2006 at 6:59PM
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lyael(z10 CA, ss 23)

Thanks for the Bt info!


    Bookmark   July 28, 2006 at 2:57PM
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