What is going on with my spearmint (bug)?

agnggJune 14, 2009

Hello! I am new to gardening in general, I started this Spring with various container plants, veggies and herbs.

Everything has been doing great.

I picked up a small spearmint seedling at a market and planted in a large container and it has been totally thriving and spreading and the container (10gallon) is almost filled in.

I check it almost daily since it's next to my back door by the patio.

Today I was pulling some lower dead leaves off and noticed the leaves were very sticky which is not usual. As I started looking closer, there were several leaves all stuck together with a sap like substance, very sticky.

All of a sudden I noticed in the soil, a small white, caterpiller looking bug! It was probably about a quarter of an inch long, if not smaller. White on top, black on the bottom, and it moved like a caterpiller. I tried taking pics of it, but I couldn't get my camera to zoom in close enough, so it was just a white blur.

Also, most of the leaves are covered with little white things. I'm not sure if they are eggs but they did not move and were stuck all over the leaves.

I took the one bug out, examined it, then squished it. Then I found one more on a leaf and one more in the soil.

I also saw some black gnats in the soil.

I have only used DE on my plants, since I had gnats when I started. Since using DE, I really haven't seen them anymore, except today.

I just dusted all of the soil with the DE and left it alone.

Am I going to have to toss the plant? It's so pretty! I am so upset! I tried to start taking off all of the leaves with those white things on them but there were so many!

Thanks for any advice and insight!

(*I'm also posting this question in the container forum)

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    Bookmark   June 14, 2009 at 2:54PM
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CA Kate

Did you try spraying the leaves with a strong spray of water? That usually works for me. And, for some reason those dislodged seldom return.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2009 at 10:41PM
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Hi! Thanks for your replies! While I was searching online, I came across mealy bugs which sounded right since they attach and suck sap. But they looked nothing like what I saw in the pic. It didn't have legs like they have in the first pic I saw.
The ones in the link that msmarieh posted look closer to what I saw, only mine were smaller. So maybe they were very immature? I also didn't see any cottony stuff on the leaves. But maybe its very early since I check them often.
I will do more research on them and look for more suggestions.
Another thing that I am concerned about is if the spearmint is safe to use? Should I cut away all the sticky leaves and branches?
I'm going to try to spray the plant with the water hose today to see what I can remove. A majority of the leaves have those "white things" on them. I can't get my camera to zoom in enough to show what's on the leaves. I was out all day yesterday so i haven't even seen it since I posted this question.
Also, do you think the DE will help if they are mealy bugs?

Thanks for you help! I appreciate it!

    Bookmark   June 15, 2009 at 11:12AM
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