bugs eating my mint

ironmanlifeJuly 29, 2007

I am growing mint outside and am getting a bit frustrated. Bugs seem to be eating it up faster than it grows. They first chew holes in each of the leaves and then completely ingest the leaves. I cringe everytime I go outside in the morning because I know more leaves will be gone.

When I look closely at the leaves, I see little black balls on the leaves (possibly excrement from the feeding frenzy?).

I went to my local plant store and they suggested I use an organic insecticide (Pharma Form?). I tried using that on one of the plants and it killed it pretty quickly. My neighbor suggested I use soap (dishwashing soap), diluted by water. I diluted it about 10:1. It seems to be helping a little (I spray 2-4 times per week) but definitely not getting rid of the bugs. Leaves grow a little longer now before they get destroyed.

In the meantime, bugs aren't eating any of my neighbors herbs, which are less than 3 feet away.

Any suggestions would be extremely appreciated.

Thanks!

J.

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sherinyc

I had this EXACT same problem. (in fact you could search for me on this board). Bugs eating up my mint, and not touching other herbs IN THE SAME BOX. Someone suggested cutting off ALL of the mint down to the stems and letting it grow back. I was skeptical because I thought the bugs would just eat the new growth too. But I tried it and SO FAR, SO GOOD! The new growth looks great. Looks like the few weeks of no mint around discouraged the bugs and they left or died (knock wood).

Sheri

    Bookmark   July 30, 2007 at 2:01PM
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ironmanlife

thanks Sheri. though I'm scared... cut off ALL of the mint, huh? wow... I suppose I'll give it a shot.

fingers crossed

    Bookmark   July 30, 2007 at 2:33PM
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sherinyc

Yup, ALL of it. If you're scared, read some of the posts on here about people not being able to get rid of their mint after pulling it out, mowing it, burning it, etc etc.

Cutting back the mint worked so well that I thought I would do the same with some lemon balm that was not doing so well. So I cut off all of it... and it didn't come back. :(

But the mint worked great.

Sheri

    Bookmark   July 30, 2007 at 3:12PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

There are several caterpillar possibilities. Your description certainly fits. You can search for caterpillar pests in the early evening....take a flashlight if you need to. Examine the underside of the leaves, along the stems, etc.

Search and destroy is a good method of controlling caterpillers, as even one of the little beasts can do a lot of damage.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2007 at 3:29PM
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lorna-organic

I managed to kill the dreaded squash beetles with buckets of soapy water. I used simple dish soap, one tsp. of soap per gallon bucket. Don't use antibacterial dish soap because it will kill the plants. I doused four large squash plants with two buckets of soapy water. I did that two days in a row. The beetles began to die within ten minues of the first dousing. It has been several days since I applied the soapy water, so far there are no more beetles in sight.

Bugs often hide on the underside of the leaves. If you are spraying soapy water, be sure to spray underneath the leaves. The soap coats the bodies of the insects, which suffocates them because insects breathe through their thorax/torso. Insects lay eggs, so repeat treatments will be necessary to kill of the new generation of insects which will hatch from the eggs.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2007 at 8:27PM
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putri

I'm currently growing a mint plant. Not really sure what kind of mint though. How are we to know the species? Btw, my plant seems to have some brown/yellow tiny spots on some of the leaves. I don't know what it is. Whether its rust or some other pest. Can anyone tell me? Thx. appreciate ur help.:)

    Bookmark   August 1, 2007 at 8:30AM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Using soap is risky to say the least. Neem oil is a great insecticide that is safe to use on any plant of any kind. It helps to also reduce disease issues too. The neem is mixed with water and a 'surfacent' to make it stick.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2007 at 12:59PM
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