Mystery munching

marielizabethApril 21, 2013

New to posting to the forums here but I've been reading for a while. I did some serious gardening on a small organic farm in middle TN the last few years, but I've recently moved back to FL & have a small garden going in the backyard. I knew my main challenge was going to be bug related (we definitely had bugs in TN but FL is just crazy), but I'm really stumped on this one. Something is eating a variety of the plants I have out right now. The munching does seem to be restricted to seedlings in most cases. The current affected plants are beans & okra (although I did have a similar problem with lettuce seedlings a while back, it just didn't do as much harm & they mostly grew out of it). There are little holes all over the leaves, but whenever I check I find no sign of a culprit. I've been checking all times of the day & night - no sign of any slugs, or really anything else for that matter. The only active "bug" I see are pillbugs, but I've always read/heard that they mostly feed on decaying matter (I did pull the mulch back from the stems pretty far just in case). The beans are getting pretty big & are still being chewed on, & the okra is clearly suffering. Anyone have any ideas? Any help at all would be GREATLY appreciated. If it's helpful, I'm technically in Zone 9B but really close to 10, coastal. Thanks in advance!

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zackey(GA 8b)

Can you dust them with Rotenone or something organic? I don't know what kind of bug that would be. Sorry.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 10:03PM
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marielizabeth

I was thinking I'd dust them with DE just to see what happens. The not knowing is killing me!

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 7:17AM
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TheTradition(9b)

The only thing that attacks my pole beans are leaf rollers, larvae of the Long-tailed Skipper butterfly. Hand picking is the only control I use for them. The eggs are bright yellow and the caterpillars have enlarged, reddish heads. The adults are quite aggressive if they're trying to lay eggs and I'm in the way! They'll fly at me almost like they're angry at me for hanging around their nursery!

This post was edited by TheTradition on Mon, Apr 22, 13 at 9:27

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 9:25AM
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carolb_w_fl(zone 9/10)

The munching might be early in the a.m. Tiny holes make me think of flea beetles, but I've never had them here. Have you encountered those in the past? They are very tiny & jump away when disturbed. I have had fleahoppers, but they are sucking insects, not chewing.

There are various small caterpillars (often feeding @ night) of tiny moths that can be almost impossible to catch in the act. Have you tried Bt yet?

Here is a link to the UF Featured Creatures site - & if you click on the Entomology Dep't hyperlink, you can email them w/ your questions...

Here is a link that might be useful: Featured Creatures

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 10:12AM
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marielizabeth

Thanks for the suggestions everyone! Carol, I have encountered flea beetles before (only in TN - they are a PAIN!) but I'm not seeing any here. I guess I'll try some topical stuff & keep checking - hopefully the plants will grow out of it the way the lettuce seemed to.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 5:03PM
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