Cosmos and pests

flowermum(South Z7)April 3, 2007

I've grown cosmos for about three years now and although they are not known to have many pest problems, I have had trouble with mine. My cosmos have what appears to be some type of worm. It encases itself in a white web looking thingy on the leaves, and I have the hardest time getting them off.

They will eat the flower bud if I don't catch them early enough. I recently dug a new flowerbed and I want to plant cosmos, but not if I'll have to battle these things all summer.

Has anyone had trouble with worms on their cosmos? If so, do you know a natural way to keep the cosmos free of them? I don't like chemicals, so that's why I asked about a natural remedy.

Thanks a lot.

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todancewithwolves(Z9 CA)

That has me baffled, cosmos don't really have pests that I know of. I'm wondering if it's a caterpillar. I'm wondering if it maybe a species of Sulphurs. Do you have a picture?

Edna :-)

    Bookmark   April 3, 2007 at 8:56PM
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PattiOH(z5MA)

Flowermum,
I'm baffled too!
If you can't show us a picture, could you describe the worms? Color? size? Quarter inch long? Inch long? Worms in a bunch? single worms? Do the worms have "feet"?

Are there any trees or bushes nearby that also have this worm or is it only on the cosmos?

Sorry, a lot of questions, but I just have no idea from what you've told us so far.
PattiOh

    Bookmark   April 3, 2007 at 9:11PM
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sweetannie4u(midOK_z6b/7a)

I had silk worm caterpillars for several years that ate my entire garden - leaves, buds and flowers of roses & mums flower buds, apple leaves, buds, black currant leaves and flowers and bachelor button flowers and cosmos flowers.
Thy were some type of small butterfly - layed their eggs in apple trees, elms and hackberry trees and on the wild Sand Plum shrubs, too. The caterpillars would devour the leaves and flowers on all on those trees, then drop to the ground or on bushes and flowers below and gobble them up, too. Everywhere I walked I ran into the silk strands hanging down with tiny inch-worm type caterpillars or chartreuse green or dark brown dangling on the ends.
I would flush them out with the jet spray of the water hose and squished them. I mixed up lemony dish soap and water and doused them good with that, and got rid of some more. My chickens really helped get rid of many of them, but mostly they just seemed to go away finally. For three years they ruined my gardens!
I don't know if these are what is pestering your cosmos or not, but these I had definitely loved eating mine all up!
~Annie

    Bookmark   April 4, 2007 at 9:07AM
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flowermum(South Z7)

Hi, I don't have any pictures to share of the cosmos. I haven't planted any this year yet. They reseeded themselves last year, so I hope they will do the same this year.

After posting here yesterday, I searched different types of worms, and the closest I found similar to mine were leaf curlers. I've seen these worms on my crape myrtle leaves also in the past.

Sweetannie, I've seen those dangling things also hanging from our older trees in the backyard. I haven't noticed that they pose a problem (yet) because I just dug a flowerbed in the backyard where the trees are located, and I have yet to plant this bed.

My cosmos were located in the front bed and I only have young crapes in this area. If my cosmos reseed and the worms reappear, I'll try the lemony soap mixture and prayerfully that will work.

I wanted to plant my backyard bed with lots of cosmos this year, but last year those worms were basically all over the cosmos and destroyed the buds. I was hoping someone may have heard of this because it was a pain trying to control them last year on the few cosmos I had.

Maybe I just should forget about cosmos,
: )

    Bookmark   April 4, 2007 at 10:46AM
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sweetannie4u(midOK_z6b/7a)

Never - EVER - give up!
Go to the Organic Gardening Forum and post your problem there. There will be many who will offer solutions to your caterpillar problem.

~Annie

Here is a link that might be useful: Organic Gardening

    Bookmark   April 7, 2007 at 3:28PM
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