Insect eating coneflower/daisy petals

cardwellaveJuly 7, 2011

Last year I had some montauk daisies planted and something ate the petals off. I thought it was earwigs, would occasionally spray it with Natria pest spray.

This year I have two Becky shasta daisy plants and four coneflowers, two magnus and two bright stars.

In the front garden as soon as a petal would appear I would see the next morning the petals had been eaten off. Now I have some shastas open too, same story. Although about 3 feet away in a pot I have some banana cream shastas, they nibbled one petal only, and there is a bright star coneflower on the side of the house, only one petal nibbled there too.

Also I bought some more purple cones (prairie speldor) and some becky shastas, only one petal nibbled on the coneflower.

I have been dusting with Sevin and spraying with Natria but to no avail. This evening around 10 I went out to look and there were three to four beetles on each bloom! I can't tell what they are, I'm no expert on beetles. But I heard Japanese Beetles only are out during the day, and my pests are only out at night.

Also the leaves on my bee balm, dahlia, sunflower, and Joe Pye weed are eaten up (the bee balm is especially pitiful looking).

What do I do about these buggers, and what are they?

These are the best pics I could get.

Joe Pye Weed

Bee Balm (Swiss cheese!)

Bad pic but it was dark.

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They also eat up roses.
You might try my Organic Spray: In a blender, blend fresh garlic cloves with some mint leaves, add enough water to liquify. Strain out the solids and spray it on the flowers and leaves. You can add a little bit of lemony dish soap too if you have any. They do not like it and will go away.

That's what I used to spray on my fruit trees and roses.

Those pretty, iridescent Harlequin beetles just showed up here two evenings ago. They are munchers too, but very big suckers. I found them on my coneflowers last night. (grrrr)
We are having a plague of grasshoppers this year too. Always do when there is a drought. I've been catching them and giving them to my chickens, but if they get too numerous, it'll be time to mix up some organic spray!

Hope this helps and you find it useful.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2011 at 3:43PM
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lavendrfem(z6 CT)

I thought they were earwigs too at first but now I think they're beetles. They chew up a sunrise coneflower I have no matter where I move it to in the garden.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2011 at 9:32AM
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Pretty sure they are june bugs. They aren't very quick moving or react when you come at them. I spray them nightly but it isn't cutting down on the population. Is there anything to keep them away versus try and kill them. They don't bother my side garden 20 feet away.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 1:31AM
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Are there Goldfinches in your area? They won't eat plants like bugs, but they love to pull the petals out of my zinnias, susans, daisies and coneflowers. I don't mind, they're lovely birds! I grow tall verbena bonariensis just for them and they adore it!


    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 6:58PM
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I had some solar lights behind the fence they are planted along. I heard they are attracted to light. I took the lights out and tonight there were NO bugs on anything! I kinda am bummed because I liked the lights but this might have solved my problem!

    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 10:56PM
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lavendrfem(z6 CT)

Cameron - I do have goldfinches and I had no idea! I guess I'll just have to let them think it's a buffet - I love those birds!


    Bookmark   July 22, 2011 at 8:45AM
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The Goldfinches hold onto the plants by the petals while they eat the seeds, In doing so, their tiny little feet pull out the petals. Sometimes there is a flock of a dozen or more having a garden party!


    Bookmark   July 22, 2011 at 10:10PM
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I shot this photo through my front door while this male Goldfinch perched on the plant to pull out the seeds.

Cute! :-)


    Bookmark   July 24, 2011 at 7:37AM
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Well it's not goldfinches for me, it's the june bugs. Even with the solar lights removed I go out there every night and they're covering the flowers. Spray Sevin, dust Sevin, nothing seems to keep them away. I have given up for the most part, not sure what else to do.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 10:57AM
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The black and black with orange Blister Beetles have been eating the leaves off of everything this year. Usually, its just the tomatoes, but this year with our drought, they are eating all leaves, even the English Ivy on our house! I pick them off and squish them. Fly spray killed the ones on the front porch that were eating the ivy off the pillars. Dang it! I've never seen them eat ivy before. Am finding them on nearly every plant and every flower.
My hens won't eat them. YUCK! If I had guineas, they would disappear fast. When I had them before, they ate the heck out those black Blister Beetles - wasps too.
I sprayed my Roma tomatoes with Liquid Sevin and it killed the Blister Beetles. They almost totally defoliated the plants though before I resorted to the Poison War.
It got rid of the over population of grasshoppers too. Now they are at a manageable number. Mostly just little ones hopping about in the grass and native shrubs and the hens take care of them, if they can catch them, that is.
But did you know that grasshopper poop is the best fertilizer in the world? I saw a documentary on them last year.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 1:01PM
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I've seen squirrels nibbling my coneflowers. I couldn't figure it out until one day I watched one ever so carefully bend down the stem of a flower and nibble away. They don't seem to like mature flower petals, just the newly emerging ones. One year, all I had on my plant were the center cones-no flowers. Sometimes I put a tomato cage with a sheet draped over the top to protect the petals until they are mature and full of color. I did that with my Tiki Torch coneflower and it is beautiful this year!

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 1:13PM
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